Friday 7 June 2019 3:50 pm

DEBATE: President Donald Trump’s state visit faced protests in London. Is it possible to separate the man from the office?

As people protest Donald Trump’s state visit, is it possible to separate the man from the office?

YES, says Olivia Utley, deputy editor at TheArticle.

Heads of state and prime ministers, as their name tags at international conferences suggest, represent their states, not themselves.

International relations, particularly in a complex multi-polar world, require that we relate to and sustain good relationships with other states. The unpalatable fact is that sometimes it is necessary to put national interest first – and to accept the unpleasantness of associating with unpleasant characters who strut on the global stage.

As private individuals, we have every right to protest at the personal and public conduct of Donald Trump, who is on a state visit to the UK this week. But we ought to think about the reason for our protest and its likely effectiveness, especially considering the high cost of policing and security.

And we, as private citizens, should also think about the national interest: he may not be our cup of tea, but Donald Trump is nonetheless the democratically-elected President of the United States, one of Britain’s most important international allies.

NO, says Harini Iyengar, the Women’s Equality Party spokesperson for equal representation.

By welcoming Trump with a state visit, our government is signalling that it will not stand up to racism and misogyny.

Trump has bragged about groping women and supported men accused of sexual abuse. He declared that women who receive abortions should be punished and has separated children from their parents at the border.

To claim that this visit recognises the fact of Trump’s presidency without condoning his personal views is simply untrue. Only three of the 12 US presidents who have served during the Queen’s reign have been honoured with an official state visit.

A royal reception is not required in recognition of Trump’s office, nor is it necessary for diplomacy. Moreover, it is a waste of money – money that our schools, NHS, and social care desperately need.

As a man, Trump is degrading the office of President and our Prime Minister should call this out rather than sweeping it under the red carpet.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.