Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Should Trump’s state visit go ahead?

What the papers say: Should Trump's state visit go ahead?
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Donald Trump’s January visit to Britain now looks to be in doubt following the furore over his tweets. Diplomats in the United States are said to have put the plans on ice, according to the Daily Telegraph. Good, says the Guardian in its editorial this morning: it’s time to ditch the state visit. Tump’s decision to retweet anti-Muslim videos shows ‘again that he panders to bigots and is no friend of this country’, the paper argues. Brexit already makes this a ‘dangerous’ moment for Britain, says the paper, which goes on to suggest that further allying ourselves to a ‘thuggish narcissist’ will hardly help matters. Theresa May was right to rebuke the president this week, but she ‘should go further’ and ‘withdraw the invitation for a state visit’ says the paper. It is vital that ‘Britain should not allow Mr Trump’s racism to be dressed up in pageantry’. Of course, this does not mean that Britain should not have a relationship with the United States. But it is time to accept that so long as Trump remains in the White House, things will inevitably be ‘rocky’.

‘Errant tweets’ can usually be safely ignored, says the Times, but not when they are sent by the leader of the free world. Trump’s use of Twitter is ‘dangerous’, argues the paper, which says that while it is true that the videos were inevitably ‘aimed mainly’ at a US audience, they have ‘delighted’ Britain First. In one tweet, Trump has ‘soured diplomatic relations, undermined the efforts of those working to improve Muslim integration in Britain and put Mrs May in a difficult position’. Yet for all the backlash against the president, rescinding his state visit invitation ‘would be counterproductive’. Instead, when Trump does come to Britain, he should ‘visit Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry to see for himself how the vast majority of British Muslims live peacefully alongside Britons who are not.’. It’s true that this co-existence is not always easy. Yet for the likes of Sadiq Khan, who, the Times says ‘is tackling the challenges of integration head on’, Trump is only making things more difficult. Some have said Trump should delete his Twitter account. ‘It would be (better) for the president who mastered social media to master his more incendiary impulses as well,’ concludes the Times.

Meanwhile, the Sun picks up on yesterday’s immigration figures which showed net migration fell by 106,000 last year. The drop is ‘good news’, says the paper, which points out that much of the decline in the number of people coming to Britain is among ‘low-skilled EU job-hunters’. ‘After years of sky-high totals the country could not cope with’ this is good news, says the Sun. But it is ‘especially’ good if those no longer coming to Britain include those ‘whose willingness to work for peanuts helped keep Brits’ wages down’. We shouldn’t stop here though, argues the paper, and it is vital that we ’continue to get numbers down’. The Sun looks ahead to Brexit as an opportunity to do just that, suggesting that when the UK leaves the EU ‘we can set the right levels for our economy and our schools, hospitals and housing'. Yet for all the talk of a Brexodus, the evidence shows that this is just not happening. ‘The best news is that we still have a steady flow of skilled EU workers arriving to a certain job offer’. ‘That’s exactly what we should aim for,’ concludes the Sun.