"Donald Trump's not welcome here" rings through the UK as hundreds of thousands protest his visit.
Britain’s “Stop Trump” protests kicked off in earnest on Thursday evening with the highlight of the rallies, a giant balloon depicting the US President as a large baby holding a cell phone, taking to the skies over Parliament Square in London on Friday morning. So far, it's believed over 250,000 people have marched in the English capital.
I thought tens of thousands would turn up to protest against Trump on a week day.July 13, 2018
“This is a victory,” Leo Murray, an activist and creator of the balloon, told the New York Times.
“People love it, he hates it and its driven him out of London.”
The main protest took place on Friday afternoon in London as tens of thousands joined to protest President Trump’s official UK visit. Thousands also turned out at similar protests in smaller cities across the UK, including cities in Scotland where Trump owns a golf course.
TRUMP: "I'm very popular in Britain."
The 250,000 people at the anti-Trump protest in London, right now:pic.twitter.com/mpmSGfjxZw— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) July 13, 2018
Meeting with English Prime Minister Theresa May and British Queen Elizabeth on Friday, the majority of Trump’s trip is to take place outside of London as he seeks to avoid the protests organized in his honor. As many as 64,000 people signed up for the London demonstration but hundreds of thousands more than this attended. Earlier 1,000 turned out to see the baby blimp, sporting red hats branded with “Trump babysitter.”
“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” Trump told tabloid English newspaper The Sun.
“I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”
Here’s the cover of The Sun that’s being released while Trump is still at a gala dinner Theresa May threw in honor of his 1st UK visit as president: pic.twitter.com/yhMLPPy4ej— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) July 12, 2018
Trump has since branded The Sun interview as “fake news” as it included heavy criticism of Prime Minister May and claimed the former British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who resigned from the role over Brexit just last week, would make a great prime minister.
"It didn't put in what I said about the prime minister, and I said tremendous things," Trump claimed.
Huge #TrumpProtest in Portland Place. Can’t see how it will move south down Regent St as thousands are still heading north from Oxford Circus, being corralled round onto Mortimer St then Gt Portland St to join rear.. which is now up near the park. pic.twitter.com/FIah4lToX2— John Wilson (@JohnWilson14) July 13, 2018
The President sparred with the Sun’s journalist Tom Newton Dunn during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s residence on Friday afternoon, as Dunn claimed the president's positive remarks on May had been noted in the article.
"If you reported them that's good," Trump answered.
"Thank you very much for saying that."
Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Theresa May...https://t.co/XQLkayYKlM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 13, 2018
In The Sun interview, Trump also criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who allowed the Trump baby blimp to fly over London. Khan was criticized by the President for failing to control crime and for failing to prevent militant attacks.
“The idea that we restrict freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to protest because somebody might be offended is a slippery slope,” Khan told BBC radio after the interview’s publication.
“We have a rich history in this country of having a sense of humor as well.”
As part of the unrest of his visit, the Green Day song “American Idiot” even entered the UK charts again, years after its 2004 release, as protesters repromoted the song to voice their disgust as Trump’s policies and his UK visit. The song references the 24-hour-news cycle, describing a “nation controlled by the media,” words that feel applicable to the current US administration.
Citizens of the U.K. have turned music chart manipulation into a cheeky tradition; now President Trump's upcoming visit has Brits campaigning for Green Day's "American Idiot." https://t.co/uhbhv9xH2B pic.twitter.com/e4EFTFbSIM— NPR Music (@nprmusic) July 11, 2018
Trump already angered the Irish on the first day of his UK visit, appearing to reference Ireland as being part of the UK.
"I believe that the people in the UK - Scotland, Ireland, as you know I have property in Ireland, I have property all over - I think that those people they like me a lot and they agree with me on immigration,” he stated. The President is known to cram his sentences together, however, and it is unknown whether he was referring to the whole island of Ireland being a part of the UK.