Donald Trump is still welcome to visit Britain next month, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday, despite widespread revulsion at what she called “deeply disturbing” images of children being held in “what appear to be cages” along America’s border with Mexico.
May, who is pursuing a trade deal with the United States to mitigate the looming economic catastrophe of Brexit, has generally been reluctant to criticize Trump, but in the House of Commons on Wednesday she was forced to address the American president’s abduction of immigrant children.
“President Trump has locked up 2,000 little children in cages and is refusing to release them unless he’s allowed to build a wall,” Gavin Shuker of the opposition Labour Party pointed out during Prime Minister’s Questions. “What does this man have to do to have the invitation she has extended revoked?” he asked.
In May’s response, she referred to Trump only by his title, and suggested that her meeting with the president of the United States would be an opportunity to raise the issue with him. “When we disagree with the United States,” the prime minister said, “we tell them so.”
May was accused of hypocrisy by some Britons who recall that, in her prior role as Britain’s home secretary, she had hired vans to drive the streets threatening to jail undocumented immigrants.
Faced with the prospect of mass protests already being planned for London and Edinburgh, few details have been released ahead of Trump’s “working visit” to his mother’s homeland, scheduled for July 13. But outrage has been stoked this week over the images and audio of abducted children circulating online, Trump’s repeated lies about a refugee crime wave in Germany, his decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, and his use of the word “infest” to equate immigrants to vermin.
Theresa May's silence is deafening as she fails to call out Donald Trump and condemn his cruel, inhumane and despicable actions. I am disgusted that our government will roll out the red carpet for him next month. The thing about integrity is that you can only lose it once. pic.twitter.com/kWFVQMRy93— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) June 19, 2018
He lies about crime in Britain, he lies about crime in Germany, he lies about and defends his cruel, inhumane, barbaric policy of separating babies and children at the border, a new low even for him, and in less than four weeks, @theresa_may will roll out the red carpet. Really? https://t.co/Y9PyeMrSAD— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) June 18, 2018
Among those who expressed disgust at the images from inside the U.S. internment camps were Trump’s friend Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar, the star of the British version of “The Apprentice.”
Sugar, perhaps channeling Trump too much, was also forced to apologize on Wednesday for posting a racist tweet, in which he joked that African soccer players taking part in the World Cup were also selling cheap sunglasses and handbags on the pitch.
Very troubled after seeing @Lord_Sugar racist tweet. I will be writing to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the @BBC calling for an immediate investigation. Racism has no place in Parliament or society. Swift action must be taken. pic.twitter.com/43aXhBYUyi— (((Dawn Butler MP))) (@DawnButlerBrent) June 20, 2018