Trump will visit Britain during Brexit debate. How will Brits react?
The Trump Organization said the timing of the visit is a coincidence, and that Trump is visiting to celebrate the official opening of his Scottish golf resort.
An online petition to ban Donald Trump from Britain for hate-speech received nearly 600,000 signatures. Prime Minister David Cameron called Mr. Trump's attacks on Muslims "stupid, divisive and wrong." Scotland's first minister stripped Trump of his honorary title of "GlobalScot" business ambassador.
None of this has discouraged the presumptive Republican presidential nominee from visiting.
Mr. Trump will visit Scotland June 24 for the official opening of his Turnberry golf resort, one day after the country votes on the "Brexit" referendum to leave the European Union, he said Wednesday.
"Very exciting that one of the great resorts of the world, Turnberry, will be opening today after a massive £200 million investment," Trump said in a statement, as The Washington Post reported. "I own it and I am very proud of it. I look forward to attending the official opening of this great development."
For many, the feeling wasn't mutual.
And yet, the politician with a knack for polarizing Americans has a bloc of British supporters. Some there like him for his bluntness and willingness to act. Others emphasize the importance of not burning their historic relationship with the United States if Trump becomes president.
Although Trump is scheduled to land in Scotland the day Britain learns if it will depart from the EU, he says his business there is simply business. The visit was planned long in advance, a Trump Organization spokeswoman told Reuters, saying it was just a coincidence that the referendum vote was the day before. She added the date of the visit will not be changed.
Even if it's just happenstance, however, the irony of Trump's timing can't be ignored.
Trump's visit will be his first since he and Mr. Cameron exchanged criticisms over Trump's proposed ban of Muslims into the United States following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. On the floor of the House of Commons, Cameron said Trump's proposal was "stupid" and that Trump visiting Britain would "unite us all against him."
The two don't see eye-to-eye on "Brexit" either. Cameron is a champion of the country's rejecting the referendum, while Trump has suggested Britain should leave the EU because of immigration.
And Cameron isn't the only Brit to bang heads with Trump. Following a Scottish woman's drafting of the online petition to ban Trump from the UK for hate speech, lawmakers seriously considered the proposal.
The petition spurred David Gladwin to draft his own, pointing out Britain's longstanding relationship with the US.
"For starters we shouldn't be banning people for their opinions on domestic actions in a US political race that doesn't concern us. But more importantly if he does actually win the nomination, and then goes on to win the presidency. We then have to work with a man who we banned from our country in the first place, [sic]" writes Mr. Gladwin.
"Leave the decision making on appropriate responses to the Americans. Lets mind our own business."
The petition has received almost 50,000 signatures.
One of Trump's loudest supporters across the Atlantic is British television personality and columnist Katie Hopkins. Hopkins, known for her controversial remarks, graphically criticized President Obama and praised Trump in a column she wrote in December for the Daily Mail.
"Trump IS providing leadership," wrote Ms. Hopkins. "He knows some of his grandstanding is hot air. But he is articulating a sentiment held by millions and reinforcing himself as a protector of the American people."
Trump will likely receive a mixed reception when he lands, but it remains to be seen if he will meet with Cameron. A spokesman for Cameron told Reuters there were no firm plans for a meeting, but said it was a long-standing practice for a prime minister to meet presidential nominees if they visited Britain.