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President Donald Trump arrived for a three-day state visit in Britain Monday to “tremendous crowds of well-wishers,” he said. The president — who once stared directly into the sun to witness a solar eclipse — hadn’t seen any protests, he claimed.
“Fake News will be working hard to find them,” Trump promised in a tweet.
But it’s not that hard, actually.
Londoners were photographed flipping off the president’s helicopter as it roared overhead, and locals took over some of the city’s major landmarks to show their disdain. For instance, Amnesty International unfurled “Resist Trump” banners across London's Vauxhall Bridge. Another group, Led by Donkeys, anti-Brexiters that have carried out viral billboard campaigns, projected videos onto Big Ben Monday morning of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling then-candidate Trump “unfit to hold office” in 2015. The president’s low approval rating in the U.K. (21 percent) and the name of his deceased nemesis, Sen. John McCain, were also projected onto buildings in downtown London.
One sign posted to Twitter — this one not from Amnesty International — read: “Fuck off you orange twat.”
And there are plans for more such displays via blimps, billboards, banners and traditional protests. Protesters plan to fly a large balloon of Trump dressed as a cartoonish, fat baby over the city — they flew “Trump Baby” for his state visit last July, and he said it might keep him away from the capital. This year, there will also be a $25,000 robot depicting Trump sitting on a golden toilet, phone in hand.
Trump’s welcome has been less than warm, to say the least. But after all, he insulted his hosts even before he arrived. He called London’s anti-Trump mayor, Sadiq Khan, a “stone cold loser.” (Khan allowed protesters to fly the Trump Baby balloon.) He also suggested Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” choice as the next leader of the Conservative Party.
If Trump truly didn’t see any of the Londoners protesting him, it might have been because he was busy meeting with Queen Elizabeth II or having tea with Prince Charles. But Tuesday will see the largest-yet protest during his visit. That’s when thousands of protesters are expected to show up in London’s Trafalgar Square with the 20-foot Trump Baby. Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to speak at the event.
Cover: Police officers guard the area in front of the Buckingham Palace as people protest during the state visit of U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Great Britain. Justin Griffiths-Williams / Sputnik via AP