Trump fans in London defend ‘hero’ president as thousands prepare to protest

‘Those people who are calling for him to be banned from the UK are fascist,’ supporter says

Tom Batchelor
Buckingham Palace
,Zamira Rahim
Monday 03 June 2019 14:46 BST
Jeremy Hunt Praises Donald Trump's Economic Record and Suggests UK could Copy his Tax Cuts

Amid the threat of major protests during his UK state visit, a handful of Donald Trump supporters gathered outside Buckingham Palace to welcome the US leader – calling him a “hero” whose presidency the next British prime minister should try to emulate.

Jerry and Lisa Foster, from Hallendale Beach in Florida, said they wanted to show their support for their president, who was the best since Ronald Reagan.

“He’s his own person, he’s not being bought by anybody,” Mr Foster said.

“He doesn’t do it for the money but because he loves America. That’s the way every country needs to do it – it should be like that here too: England first.”

The majority of the crowds lining the mall were tourists, most of whom were unaware who was visiting.

Larger numbers were expected later in the day in the form of an anti-Trump protest.

But Joseph Afrane, wearing a Union Jack suit and hat, had clearly come prepared for the day.

The 55-year-old, from Battersea, south London, said he was there both as a fan of the Royals and Mr Trump.

“I am supporting the state visit because I respect Trump as the president of the free world,” he said.

“After Brexit we will need him for trade as well as security. America is our longstanding ally.”

Those views were echoed by Russell, 48, from Shropshire, who, wearing a ‘make America great again’ hat declined to give his surname because of the animosity he said the cap attracted.

“The beloved Mr Trump is a hero,” he said.

“Those people who are calling for him to be banned from the UK are fascist. And don’t forget, not everyone in the UK is against him. We need a Trump-like figure in Downing Street.”

Mr Trump had caused controversy in the UK before even emerging from Air Force One on Monday.

In a tweet he called Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, “terrible” and a “stone-cold loser” – prompting Mr Khan to call him “childish” and a “far-right” threat in return.​

Mr Khan had earlier compared the US president to “fascists” from the 20th century.

The mayor’s Labour colleagues flocked to defend him online against the US president.

“So appalled Theresa May has given this man a red carpeted platform to do this.” Yvette Cooper, a Labour MP, tweeted.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, called Mr Trump’s insults “ridiculous”.

But Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s foreign secretary, chose to defend the controversial US leader.

“The president does what the president does but let’s ask why he was so angry when he did that tweet and I think the very simple reason is he’s been shown great discourtesy.” he said.

“What I would say is for Sadiq Khan and the Labour Party, to be boycotting the state visit of the President of the United States, who has been invited here not by Theresa May but by Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate a relationship that goes back centuries but just 75 years ago saw a million American servicemen on our soil land ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty, is I’m afraid, virtue-signalling of the worst kind.”

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Thousands of people are expected to attend protest against Mr Trump’s state visit during a rally in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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