Donald Trump’s arrival in London on Monday is prompting fierce debate around the timing and purpose of this state visit.

The UK has granted the US president two such state visits in two years.

In 2018, tens of thousands marched through London to protest Trump’s first visit; a giant ‘Baby Trump’ balloon—due to reappear this week—flew overhead.

Supporters argue Trump’s presence bolsters the ‘special relationship’ between both nations, long-standing historical allies.

With Brexit threatening to overturn the UK’s complex trade system with Europe—its biggest trading partner—many hope this visit will consolidate negotiations for a post-Brexit transatlantic trade agreement.

But British prime minister Theresa May will officially resign this Friday, meaning Trump’s political counterpart is a lame duck and substantive policy-making may prove difficult.

Critics underline the high strain on public funds, with Trump’s 2018 visit costing police £7.9 million and this year’s slated to surpass £25 million.

Trump explicitly backing former London mayor Boris Johnson in the ruling Conservative party’s leadership contest raised considerable concerns about undue interference in domestic politics.

Upon landing in London Monday morning, Trump also insulted current London mayor, the progressive Sadiq Khan, after Khan lambasted Trump’s policies in an editorial.

How productive can this visit be?


Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.