White House denies that Trump is planning to sneak into Britain to avoid protests


Melania-Trump-rejects-Donald-s-hand-again-808463The White House and Downing Street poured cold water on Monday on news reports that President Trump was considering a quick visit to Britain next week, a possibility that had excited the many Britons eager to protest his presence in the country.

According to British newspapers including The Times of London and The Guardian, which cited unidentified British government sources, the White House had suggested that Mr. Trump could stop by Downing Street after visiting Turnberry, one of his golf resorts in Scotland, during a trip to Europe.

Mr. Trump would visit Britain between the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg on Friday and Saturday and celebrations for Bastille Day in France on July 14.

Unless Mr. Trump were to decide to return to Washington and then fly back to Europe, those two commitments would leave him with several days to kill, a long time in politics.Mr. Trump might come to Downing Street to meet Prime Minister Theresa May for informal talks as part of any such visit, but final confirmation would probably happen just 24 hours before, to minimize the risk of disruption, the newspapers reported. Or he might visit Mrs. May at the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers, which is about 40 miles northwest of London and more isolated.

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, described the reports as “not accurate” and said there were no plans for Mr. Trump to go to Britain this month.

James Slack, a spokesman for Mrs. May, said, “I am not aware of any plans for the president to visit the U.K. in the next few weeks.”

Mrs. May traveled to Washington to meet with Mr. Trump soon after his inauguration and extended an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit this year.

The rapidity of that invitation was criticized. In February, opponents of Mr. Trump, including some members of Parliament and trade unions, vowed to hold the largest demonstrations in British history during any state visit by Mr. Trump.

The invitation stands, but given the probability of major protests during such a formal visit, the trip appeared to have been postponed and was not mentioned last month in the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which sets out the government’s program.