President Donald Trump will travel to Britain in July for a working visit, the office of British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Thursday, making good on an invitation delayed in part by the threat of protests and unrest in London.
The trip will include talks with British leaders but will be a lower-key working visit and not a full state visit, a spokesman for Downing Street confirmed.
"The President of the United States will visit the U.K. on July 13th. He will hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister during his visit. Further details will be set out in due course," the spokesman said in a statement.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was "fantastic news" that Trump would "at last come to Britain."
"Looking forward to seeing our closest ally and friend on the GREATest visit ever," Johnson tweeted.
Trump and May had said at their last meeting, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, that the visit would occur soon. The two leaders do not have much of a rapport, although Trump said in Davos that the perception of a poor relationship is incorrect. The two speak far less frequently than do Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, however, and it was France and not staunch ally Britain that was rewarded with the first state visit of the Trump presidency.
Trump is a deeply controversial figure in Britain, largely because of his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim positions. He prompted widespread criticism when he retweeted a far-right British group's anti-Muslim videos. When May said he was wrong to have shared the videos, Trump responded by telling her to focus on terrorism in her country.
May was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump in Washington after his inauguration. At the time of her January 2017 visit, she said Trump had accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit later in the year.
Critics in Britain said May was too hasty in extending an invite for a full state visit, which traditionally includes a carriage ride with the queen and a banquet at Buckingham Palace.
In any case, that visit was put on hold in part because British lawmakers and others vowed to protest and boycott Trump over his policies.
Trump told May in a phone call in December that he planned to visit in early 2018, and the U.S. ambassador in London, Woody Johnson, said he hoped Trump would cut the ribbon for the new U.S. Embassy in south London.
Numerous activist groups vowed to disrupt such a visit.
Trump later dropped the plans, saying the new $1 billion embassy was a bad real estate deal and was in an "off location." He blamed the real estate transaction on former president Barack Obama, although the deal had been struck under Obama's Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has previously feuded publicly with Trump, tweeted Thursday: "If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear."