Even with an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived at London Stansted airport for the American leader’s first official visit to the U.K. Thursday morning amid an expected surge in protests.
According to his itinerary at this point, his only formal event in London where his unpopularity is high is a closed press meet and greet at the U.S. embassy on Thursday.
Otherwise, he will remain on the outskirts of the city center which, in some ways, lessens the chance he’ll encounter displays of British criticism of his policies directly.
The president’s visit comes after his participation in the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. At the NATO headquarters, Trump addressed his relations with the U.K. and insisted that it “loves [him].”
“The UK loves me, in fact my mother was from the UK, they love me there even if they are not treating us well with trades, but they will,” he said. “They like me a lot in the UK.”
Widespread protests opposing President Trump’s stay begin Thursday evening and continue through Friday night. London Mayor Sadiq Khan who has had a particularly contentious relationship with President Trump approved protesters’ use of a “Trump baby” blimp during the president’s visit to Great Britain.
The blimp, which depicts the president as a giant, orange child in a diaper, will fly over Parliament for two hours on Thursday.
The 2004 Green Day hit, “American Idiot” is now skyrocketing to the top of the UK charts ahead of the visit – a boost fueled in large part by the efforts of British protesters and social media.