Protestors have pledged to protest Donald Trump’s planned visit to Blenheim Palace, with Oxford Stand Up To Racism calling for people to demonstrate against the British government “rolling out the red carpet” for the controversial US president.
Oxford Labour Muslim Network has also condemned the potential presidential visit, and Oxford and West Abingdon MP Layla Moran has said she will join protests against the president’s visit.
The reaction from locals has been more mixed. One local publican offered the president a free drink if he stops by his pub, whilst Oxford City Councillor Tom Hayes demanded that the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner “pull on every lever at [his] disposal” to prevent Trump’s visit.
Hayes argues that the president’s views are “alien to the majority if not all of Thames Valley” and that they will stir up support for the far-right in the area, endangering the safety of local residents. Hayes furthermore articulated his “concerns about the prospect of a hardcore band of far-right supports converging on communities within the Thames Valley.”
The councillor added: “The birthplace of Winston Churchill – the man who defended Britain and the world against fascism – shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet for fascism.”
Oxford Stand Up To Racism have similarly accused the US leader of spreading the “politics of hate” and “incit[ing] racism and division”.
A spokesman for Oxford Labour Muslim Network said: “Donald Trump is not welcome in Oxfordshire and not welcome in our country. Not now, not ever.”
The group “call[s] on the good people of Oxford and Oxfordshire to stand in solidarity with us, Oxfordshire’s Muslim communities.”
A poll of the readers of the Oxford Times found that 74% were opposed to Trump’s visit, while just 26% were in support.
The planned three-day presidential visit is set to take place in July, with President Trump due to meet the Queen on the 13th, an event expected to be met with significant protests. Trump is due to dine at Blenheim Palace on the 12th, the second day of Trump’s first official visit to the UK since his election in 2016. This will be followed by a meeting with Theresa May at the Prime Minister’s country retreat in Buckinghamshire, Chequers.
Blenheim Palace has yet to confirm the visit.