President Trump, Travel Bans, and State Visits

From day one of his Administration, President Trump has been dominating headlines and provoking reaction on both sides of the Atlantic, prompting calls for the UK to rescind our invitation of a state visit.

It is always difficult to reconcile loathing one may hold for an individual while respecting the office they hold. Similarly it can be difficult to distinguish distaste for a political movement from the nation it has supposedly enveloped.

I am privileged to play a role in British politics, which regardless of differing political opinions, is on the whole far less polarised than the situation in the United States, and despite my high regard for the alliance between the United Kingdom and the USA, I would not wish us to learn how to conduct our politics from our American cousins.

On President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees, I believe it is wrong and misguided. The US courts have already intervened to limit the scope of the travel ban, and I earnestly hope that American democracy, in the form of Congress, will assert itself and allow for common sense and decency to prevail.

While I do not envy Her Majesty the Queen in hosting Mr Trump, he is nonetheless the elected Head of State of our strongest ally. We have to consider whether we seek to influence and guide, or shut out and ignore the President. Despite me finding a number of his views objectionable on a range of issues, I nonetheless believe we should seek to do the former.

It is for this reason that I am, for the present time at least, unable to lend my voice to the calls to cancel the proposed state visit of the US President. However, I do not rule out revising my view in the weeks and months ahead as the new American Administration settles in and we learn more of its intentions.