American politics has been somewhat of a touchy subject in the past couple of months. Recently, the UK Parliament had a debate about the controversial decision to invite President Donald Trump on a full state visit to the UK so early in his term.
The UK parliament held the session after a petition was signed by nearly two million people, easily crossing their 100 thousand signature threshold to qualify for parliamentary debate. This petition called for canceling the state visit because it would be embarrassing for the queen. A rival petition, with 310 thousand signatures in support of the state visit, was also discussed.
Labour MP Paul Flynn began the debate by commenting on the parliament’s great respect for the United States. “We all in this room hold in great respect the US presidency, their constitution, their history,” and added, “there is no question of any disrespect toward that country.”
Flynn was quick, though, to comment on President Trump’s cognitive abilities. Flynn’s opinion on the matter was that if the Parliament allowed the Trump to visit, then they would be allowing a president who acted “like a petulant child,” and would portray to Britain that they approved of his behavior and misogynistic comments.
A state visit, he said, “would be terribly wrong because it would appear that British Parliament, the British nation, the British sovereign, is approving of the acts of Donald Trump.”
MP Simon Burns argued in favor of the visit, saying that it doesn’t matter what people think of President Trump, what matters is the relationship between the UK and the US. “America is our greatest ally. It has been for a considerable amount of time,” he debated, “It has stood by us, shoulder to shoulder, in our hour of need, as we did in their hour of need, particularly during 9/11.”
Burns also commented on the importance of this relationship after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. “We can’t afford to be isolated and stand there alone,” said Burns.
Trump’s full state visit would allow him to also ride in the Queen’s carriage, gun salutes, a banquet at the Buckingham Palace, and other ceremonial honors. Parliament proposed downgrading Trump’s visit to an “official visit” to deprive the President of these honors.
Due to the fact that no US president has received a state visit in his first year in office, MP Crispin Blunt proposed postponing the state visit until 2020 – the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ journey to America. President Barack Obama waited 28 months, and George W. Bush received an invite after 32 months at the White House.