Sunday, January 29, 2017

President Trump’s invitation to visit England maybe canceled


Calls to stop President Trump's state visit to UK

  • 5 hours ago

  • From the section UK


Calls are being made to cancel a proposed state visit to the UK by President Trump after he issued an executive order clamping down on immigration to the US.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would be "totally wrong" for the visit to go ahead later this year.

A petition to stop it has over 800,000 signatures, way over the 100,000 needed for Parliament to consider a debate.

The visit was announced during PM May's trip to the US - no date has been set.

Downing Street was asked for a response to the calls to cancel. A spokesman said: "We extended the invite and it was accepted."

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.

Speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Mr Corbyn said: "I think we should make it very clear we are extremely upset about it, and I think it would be totally wrong for him to be coming here while that situation is going on.

"I think he has to be challenged on this. I am not happy with him coming here until that ban is lifted, quite honestly."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron backed the call. He said: "Any visit by President Trump to Britain should be on hold until his disgraceful ban comes to an end.

"Otherwise Theresa May would be placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters have gathered at airports across the US to demonstrate against the executive order

Alex Salmond, the SNP's foreign affairs spokesman, said he thought the state visit was "a very bad idea".

Also appearing on Sky News' Sophy Ridge, he said: "You shouldn't be rushing into a headlong relationship with the President of the United States."

Mr Salmond said reports Mr Trump was reluctant to meet Prince Charles during the visit were "an indication of the sort of enormous difficulties you get into when you hold somebody tight who is unpredictable, who has a range of views you find unacceptable."

And Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the visit should not happen while the executive order was in place.

He told Sky News: "I am quite clear, this ban is cruel, this ban is shameful, while this ban is in place we should not be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump."

Graham Guest, who started the petition, said he wanted it to "put the spotlight" on Mr Trump.

He told the Press Association: "A state visit legitimises his presidency and he will use the photo opportunities and being seen with the Queen to get re-elected.

"The wording in the petition is quite precise as I actually say that he should come here as the head of government to do government-to-government business.

"At the end of the day he is still the president and we've just got to live with that. But there's no reason why he should get all the pomp and publicity of a state visit."

Former shadow cabinet member Chuka Umunna also backed the calls to cancel the trip.

"State visits happen at the instigation of governments and, of course, you have got a prime minister who you want to have a decent working relationship with a US president.

"But they need to understand, just as they will put America first, we will put British values first."

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said she hoped Mr Trump would reconsider his position on immigration "immediately".

"State visits are designed for both the host, and the head of state who is being hosted, to celebrate and entrench the friendships and shared values between their respective countries," she said.

"A state visit from the current president of the United States could not possibly occur in the best traditions of the enterprise while a cruel and divisive policy which discriminates against citizens of the host nation is in place."

Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, questioned the state visit on Twitter.

He wrote: "Am I alone in finding it impossible to bear that in pursuit of her deeply wrong-headed policies our PM is now forcing THAT MAN on our Queen?"

Conservative MP for Totnes, Sarah Wollaston, earlier tweeted that the US President should not be invited to address the Houses of Parliament, saying Westminster Hall "should be reserved for leaders who have made an outstanding positive difference in the world".

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Rauner attending Koch brothers’ summit in California


Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner is drawing criticism for attending an annual summit hosted by the Koch brothers. | Sun-Times file photo

Tina Sfondeles

@TinaSfon | email

Gov. Bruce Rauner is among three Republican governors attending an annual summit in California hosted by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch — a trip that’s drawn criticism from unions and some Democratic lawmakers over its timing.

The Koch brothers, the nation’s top conservative donors, have hosted gatherings of donors and politicians over the years, but usually in private. This year’s attendees include five Republican senators, three governors and two congressmen.


The governor’s office confirmed Rauner is attending the summit in Palm Springs, California, but said he’s there to discuss policy and the state’s achievements with criminal justice reform, not politics or fundraising. An administration aide added that Rauner is also meeting with people on the West Coast to recruit tech companies to come to Illinois.

But the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which is in a longstanding war with the governor amid the state’s budget impasse, on Sunday harshly criticized Rauner for what they called “huddling” with the Koch brothers as refugees are stranded and Illinois is in “crisis.”

“Actions speak louder than words. He’s not compassionate. He’s not willing to work together,” IFT President Dan Montgomery said in a statement. “In one of our darkest hours, he’s plotting with billionaires on how to make the rich richer.”

State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, who is considering a run for governor, also questioned why Rauner wasn’t at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, where a President Trump executive order barring refugees and green card holders from seven Muslim-majority nations prompted 18 people to be detained.

Rauner’s staff said in a statement Sunday that the United States’ tradition of welcoming immigrants should be balanced with national security concerns, but they added the governor is “opposed to immigration bans that target any specific religion” and acknowledged “serious concerns” about Trump’s order.

“We urge swift resolution of these concerns through the courts to ensure we are a nation that is both secure and welcoming of immigrants and refugees,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly wrote.

With eye on 2018, Gov. Bruce Rauner says ‘Don’t blame me’

The Koch network, known as the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million to influence politics and public policy over the next two years. Much of that money will be devoted to the organization’s nationwide grassroots organization to help educate voters and hold elected officials accountable.

The network is considered to be one of the most powerful in conservative politics, with an enormous budget and staff. The brothers largely back politicians and causes aligned with free-market views.

Rauner is seeking re-election next year but he is certainly not facing any financial hardships of his own. In December, Rauner contributed $50 million to his re-election campaign.

The Koch brothers are top contributors to the Republican Governors Association, which then contributes to candidates, including Rauner. Records show Rauner’s campaign committee received $8.75 million from the association beginning in March 2014.

“We’re just getting started,” billionaire industrialist Charles Koch said at the opening reception for the weekend conference, which attracted more than 550 donors, each willing to donate at least $100,000 each year to the various conservative political and policy groups backed by the Koch brothers.

Koch and many of his top donors refused to support Trump in the run-up to his election, raising questions about both his readiness for the job and his dedication to conservative principles. There were lingering signs of tensions as donors arrived Saturday.

Trump’s name was not mentioned by Koch — or the four other speakers — at the welcome reception. The group’s primary benefactor ignored the new administration and noted instead that his network successfully helped preserve the Republican majority in the Senate.

The Kochs and their supporters are focused on re-shaping the federal health care system and eliminating federal regulations. They sharply oppose, however, efforts by the Trump administration to interfere with free trade.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey are also attending the three-day summit.

Contributing: AP

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