US President Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Monday after kicking off his UK state visit by branding the London mayor a “ loser ” and weighing in on the Brexit debate .
With a 41 – gun royal salute ringing out across the royal palace ’ s lawn , Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles shook hands with the US leader and First Lady Melania Trump before British soldiers played the national anthems of the two countries .
The queen then led the couple inside for a private lunch, which will be followed in the evening by a glittering banquet .
Trump ’ s plane had not even touched down when he tweeted that London Mayor Sadiq Khan , who has been highly critical of the red – carpet welcome laid on for Trump , was doing a “ terrible job ” .
The president called the mayor a “ stone cold loser ” , adding : “ Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC , ( Bill ) de Blasio , who has also done a terrible job – only half his height .
“ In any event , I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, ” he added .
– Backing for Boris –
Trump ’ s three – day visit comes with Britain in political turmoil. Prime Minister Theresa May is due to step down within weeks over her handling of her country ’ s exit from the European Union .
Trump weighed in on the divisive issue , declaring before he arrived that Britain ’ s former foreign minister Boris Johnson would make an “ excellent ” choice to succeed May.
In a round of British newspaper interviews , he also recommended her successor walk away from talks with Brussels, refuse to pay Britain ’ s agreed divorce bill and leave the EU with no deal .
The UK – US “ special relationship” was already under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5 G networks , climate change , and Trump ’ s personal politics.
Labour ’ s Khan has led the opposition to the three – day visit , writing a newspaper article on Sunday in which he compared the US leader to European dictators from the 1930 s and 1940 s .
“ Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat , ” Khan wrote .
His spokesman called Trump ’ s tweets “ childish ” and “ beneath the president of the United States ” .
( AFP )