The Donald Trump whirlwind will rip into London tomorrow for the second time this year when the US President touches down to attend a Nato security summit.
The capital is bracing itself for The Donald’s arrival, with Boris Johnson expected to limit his time with the President and NHS staff planning protests outside Buckingham Palace.
Although the two-day security summit has been in the calendar for over a year, Trump’s visit just days ahead of the 12 December General Election represents a minefield for the Conservatives.
A key Labour attack line has been that the Tories will put the NHS on the table as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. Johnson has categorically denied the claim but will nonetheless strive to avoid looking too friendly with Trump, who is unpopular in Britain.
Johnson last week urged Trump not to intervene in the General Election campaign. The US President has already waded in once, however, telling Nigel Farage on LBC radio last month that Jeremy Corbyn would be “so bad” for Britain and urging a pact between the Tories and the Brexit party.
A senior US administration official said Trump was “absolutely cognisant of not, again, wading into other country’s elections”, although they said the President “likes Boris Johnson – Prime Minister Johnson – personally”.
Trump is due to meet Johnson as part of the leaders meeting during two-day security summit, although the PM’s aides are keen to keep appearances together at a minimum.
Jeremy Corbyn is reportedly keen to weaponise Trump’s visit to tarnish the Conservatives with the accusation that the country would submit to the US’s lower standards and demands over trade after Brexit.
Johnson is not the only leader steeling himself for the meeting. Trump’s appearance at a Nato summit in Brussels last year was widely seen as disastrous. The President tore into his allies for not paying their fair share and hinted he could quit the organisation.
Nato has been a touchy subject among European leaders in recent months. Last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to rebuke French President Emmanuel Macron when she said Europe cannot defend itself without the Nato defence alliance.
Macron said earlier last month that Nato was suffering “brain death” due to poor coordination and the volatility of Trump.