The US president is notoriously thin-skinned. He’s faced considerable protests across America — but it’s about to be turned up to “11” when he touches down in the UK tomorrow.

The US president is notoriously thin-skinned. He’s faced considerable protests across America — but it’s about to be turned up to “11” when he touches down in the UK tomorrow.

President Donald Trump does not like it when people make fun of him — to be fair, how many of us do? — but it does seem to really bother him. Some pundits even link his decision to run for president to the roasting he received from President Barack Obama and comedian Seth Meyers at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

If it is indeed the case that Trump hates being picked on, he had better brace himself. Because he is about to face some of the harshest criticism yet at the hands of protesters during his visit to England and Scotland.

Making fun of people is a national pastime in the UK. Much as the Inuits are supposed to have many words for snow, Brits have many ways to describe the practice; taking the mick, extracting the Michael, having a go, taking the piss, banter, craic. Brits who dislike Trump dislike him for much the same reasons those on the other side of the pond dislike him: it is widely alleged that he gropes women against their will, he shows disdain for decades-old European alliances, provides comfort to white nationalists, and displays no regard for the immigrant foundation of the country he represents.

The British have a long and illustrious history of satire. Artist William Hogarth produced satirical prints in the 1700s. Beyond The Fringe was a satirical stage show in the early 1960s, starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, and Jonathan Miller, and then there was Spitting Image — a TV show from the 80s and 90s which used grotesque puppets to lambaste politicians and popular culture in a most shocking manner. And that list just scratches the surface.

Trump’s visit has incensed a portion of the population so greatly that untold masses are expected to take to the streets to have their voices heard. More than 50,000 have signed up to protest in London, and that’s not taking into account those who will skirt the formalities and just turn up.

The protesters are organized — the Stop Trump Coalition was formed as soon as a potential visit to the UK was announced. And a successful crowdsourcing effort has raised enough money to make a giant inflatable effigy showing Trump as an angry infant, complete with diaper and mobile phone. The balloon’s own Twitter page had over 20,000 followers at last count.

Permission has been granted by London Mayor Sadiq Kahn for the 19-foot tall balloon to fly over London during the president’s visit. But do not be alarmed — the special relationship is as strong as ever.

“This is not a protest against America or Americans,” said British environmentalist Leo Murray, the Trump baby balloon’s creator. “This is a protest against what Donald Trump is turning America into.”

The president’s itinerary seems to have him conveniently avoiding London and the protests. He is meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May at her country residence, and popping in for tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle instead of a formal state dinner at Buckingham Palace. But the protests are scheduled to continue in London regardless, where one police chief described the resources requested to be the same as “if London was burning down.”

Protesters are also mobilizing to turn up in other parts of the country where the president is expected to visit. He is traveling to Scotland to play golf, where the British taxpayer will likely foot the $6.63 million bill for his security — which some say is reason enough to protest.

And should Trump find himself in Yorkshire he’d better not stop for a cup of tea in Sheffield. The Lord Mayor there has banned him from setting foot in the city and has declared July 13 as Mexico Solidarity Day.

There are also Trump supporters in the UK who are looking forward to welcoming the 45th US president. A landlord has decided to change the name of his pub to show support — the Jameson in Hammersmith, west London, will be temporarily known as the Trump Arms. And a Conservative MP is trying to persuade the US Embassy in London to put a sniper on the roof to shoot baby Trump down — proving that the gun lobby on both sides of the Atlantic have Trump’s back.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from trump baby (Crowdfunder) and scary Donald (TaylorHerring / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).


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