Britons will be able to watch President-elect Joe Biden and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris be sworn into office in Washington today at the 59th presidential inauguration, with coverage on UK television from 4pm.
BBC One, ITV and Sky News will broadcast footage of proceedings 3,500 miles away as the pair take the oath of office in front of the US Capitol at 5pm where they will be joined by politicians, celebrities and guest speakers.
The ‘America United’ theme aims to restore the ‘soul of America’, bring the nation together and create a ‘path to a brighter future’ amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and following the siege at the Capitol two weeks ago.
Boris Johnson said the UK and US will work ‘hand in hand’ after Mr Biden takes office, and Dame Karen Pierce, the UK’s ambassador to the US, said there was ‘a lot of optimism’ in Washington ahead of today’s ceremony.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new president taking office in the White House would have a global impact, adding: ‘There is a change in presidency but, as ever, when administrations change, the world changes.’
Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said there was an opportunity for Britain now that Donald Trump’s time in office was ending, saying his retreat from the climate change agenda had been ‘disastrous’.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) revealed a series of events to be broadcast during Inauguration Day that people in Britain can watch live from home, with Americans ordered to refrain from attending in person.
In lieu of the usual crowds, around 191,500 flags will cover the National Mall in honour of those unable to travel to Washington due to the pandemic. Here is all you need to know about today’s proceedings (in UK time):
1.45pm: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris go to mass at St Matthew’s Cathedral
Three hours before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US President, the country’s second Catholic president will start the day by attending mass at St Matthew the Apostle Cathedral with members of the House and Senate.
3.30pm: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and 1,000 guests will arrive at the East Front of the US Capitol
Because of the ongoing pandemic, organizers have slashed attendance from 200,000 down to just 1,000 people.
Most members of Congress are expected to be in attendance (and have all been permitted plus-ones), as are three of the four living former presidents: Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton, will also be present. But President Donald Trump will not be attending, having confirmed his absence in a tweet earlier this month.
Instead, Mr Trump will leave DC on Air Force One at 1pm, with his destination set for his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. He is set to become the first president in more than a century to not attend his successor’s inauguration.
Only three presidents have previously abstained, with the last, Andrew Johnson, coming in 1869. Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, has confirmed he will be attending, along with his wife, Karen.
Joe Biden speaks at the Major Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center in New Castle, Delaware, yesterday
The US Capitol building is pictured behind thousands of decorative flags on the National Mall in Washington DC last night
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden are joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff during a Covid-19 memorial event at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington DC yesterday
4pm: Inauguration ceremony featuring Reverend Leo J O’Donovan, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks
Where can you watch?
- BBC One, 4pm-6pm
- ITV, 4pm-6pm
- Sky News, 1pm-6pm
The inauguration ceremony will commence with remarks from Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a longtime friend of the Biden family and former president of Georgetown University.
Andrea Hall, the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Georgia, will then recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
A number of live performances are also scheduled to take place throughout the ceremony. The first on the bill is Lady Gaga, who will sing the national anthem. The singer previously teamed with Mr Biden on domestic violence issues during his two terms as Vice President and also campaigned for him in the 2020 election.
Amanda Gorman, who became the US’s first Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, will then recite a poem she has written for the occasion, titled: ‘The Hill We Climb’. Much like the incoming president, Ms Gorman also once had a speech impediment that she has worked hard to overcome.
She has also announced plans to run for president in 2036 – the first year in which she will be eligible. Jennifer Lopez will then follow Ms Gorman’s reading with a song, as will singer-songwriter Garth Brooks.
The performances with then conclude with a benediction from Mr Biden’s longtime family friend, the Reverend Silvester Beaman, of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Preparations continue yesterday ahead ahead of the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden at the US Capitol in Washington
A US Capitol police officer stands among socially distance chairs set up for Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony yesterday
The inaugural platform on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol as seen from the National Mall
5pm: Mr Biden is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Ms Harris is sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Mr Biden shortly after the clock strikes noon in Washington, which will be 5pm in the UK.
Questions for the ‘special relationship’ as Joe Biden enters the White House
The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States marks the opening of a new chapter in the Anglo-American relationship – raising fresh questions as to whether it remains as ‘special’ as it once was.
For Boris Johnson the pressure is on to establish good working relations with the new occupant of the White House as he seeks to reinforce the transatlantic alliance as the bedrock of UK foreign policy.
The changeover comes at a critical time for the Prime Minister as he endeavours to show ‘global Britain’ remains a force in the world as it forges a new path outside the European Union.
But he enters the new relationship with some uncomfortable baggage which may need to be overcome if it is to proceed as smoothly as Downing Street hopes.
For a start, Mr Biden is no fan of Brexit, unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, who was an enthusiastic cheerleader for Mr Johnson.
Mr Biden was vice president during the 2016 referendum campaign when Mr Johnson offended many Democrats with a sideswipe at the ‘part-Kenyan’ Barack Obama after the then president came out in favour of Remain.
Mr Biden subsequently described Mr Johnson as a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of Mr Trump while, as a politician proud of his Irish heritage, he was unimpressed by a threat to override elements of the Brexit withdrawal deal relating to Northern Ireland.
Quentin Peel, associate fellow on the Chatham House international affairs think tank’s Europe programme, says the Prime Minister may have his work cut out as he tries to bond with the new president.
‘Joe Biden is not a man who holds grudges against people but I don’t think either he is the sort of man who will be very impressed by the bluster of Boris Johnson,’ he told the PA news agency.
‘He was careless and made mistakes and he offended people. I think there is quite a bit of work the British Government will have to do to mend fences with the new Democrat regime in Washington.’
One casualty may be Mr Johnson’s hopes of an early trade deal with the US as he seeks to expand British commercial links beyond Europe.
Negotiations with the Trump administration had been making progress and there was even talk of a mini-agreement before the president left office.
All that is likely to go on the back burner as the new administration focuses on domestic priorities – most notably dealing with coronavirus and rebuilding the US economy amid the fallout from the pandemic.
There are however important diplomatic opportunities coming up which those around the Prime Minister hope will provide a way to demonstrate that Britain still has a lot to offer the country it regards as its most important ally.
Most notably the UK is in the chair for two of the most important events on the 2021 international calendar – the G7 summit of leading industrialised nations and the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
The G7 will be a key moment as the leading economies seek to chart a way forward from the pandemic, while tackling climate change is a high priority for Mr Biden – in sharp contrast to his predecessor who famously withdrew the US from the Paris agreement.
Both will require skilful handling, and there is already reportedly some disappointment in Washington that Mr Johnson has been unable to secure a big figure to head Cop26.
It is Brexit though that may present the greatest challenge, with some observers believing the new administration will look increasingly towards Berlin and Paris now Britain is outside the EU.
Mr Peel said: ‘Britain was seen in Washington as a very useful link to the European Union and therefore a binding factor.
‘I think the fact that Britain is no longer a very useful link to the European Union does matter and will weaken the relationship.’
Others are more optimistic. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that while the ‘contours’ of the special relationship will be different under the new president, the ‘bedrock’ – based on strong cultural, economic and security ties – will endure.
Traditional military and intelligence-sharing links are likely to remain strong, and it will not have gone unnoticed in Washington that Mr Johnson announced a big increase in defence spending at a time when other Nato allies are failing to meet their commitments.
But with some tricky waters to navigate first, the coming weeks and months may be crucial in shaping the way the relationship plays out over the years ahead.
Mr Biden will take the oath with his hand on top of his 127-year-old, five-inch-thick family Bible, which will be held by his wife, Dr Jill Biden.
Kamala Harris, the first woman, the first black and the first South Asian American vice president, will then take the oath immediately after.
Ms Harris is due to be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the bench of the Supreme Court.
Like Ms Harris, Justice Sotomayor is a former prosecutor. She previously administered the oath to Mr Biden when he was sworn in for his second term as Vice President in 2013.
Ms Harris will be sworn in on two Bibles — one that belonged to a close family friend named Regina Shelton and another that belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African American Supreme Court Justice.
Having then officially assumed office, Mr Biden will deliver his first public address as the 46th President of the United States.
Mr Biden is expected to focus on the inaugural theme of ‘America United’ in his address, in addition to national healing and laying out his vision to tackle the many crises the country is currently facing.
6.40pm: Mr Biden and Ms Harris review the readiness of military troops in a Pass in Review
After the swearing in ceremony is completed, the new President and Vice President will take part in a Pass in Review with members of the military on the Capitol’s East Front.
Pass in Reviews are a military tradition in which honor the peaceful transfer of power to a new commander-in-chief. Every branch of the military will be represented.
7.25pm: Mr Biden and Ms Harris go to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Mr Biden, Ms Harris and their spouses will then go to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Obamas, the Bushes and the Clintons will attend in a show of bipartisan unity.
8.15pm: Mr Biden and Ms Harris receive a Presidential Escort to the White House
The wreath laying will then be followed by the virtual ‘Parade Across America’, which is set to feature performances from all 56 U.S. states and territories.
Mr Biden, Ms Harris, and their spouses will be watching the parade from the White House. They will receive a presidential escort there, with a military parade as well as the drumlines for the University of Delaware and Howard University — Mr Biden’s and Ms Harris’ alma maters.
The parade will then commence upon their arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The event will be hosted by the actor Tony Goldwyn with appearances by Earth, Wind and Fire and former ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart.
In total, the parade will include 1,391 people. Among them will be featured heroes from across the country, including Jason Zgonc, 12, an Atlanta trumpeter who played for hospital workers during their break times over the summer to lift their spirits.
10.15pm: Mr Biden signs executive orders and other presidential actions
Mr Biden will then sign executive orders and other presidential actions, including swearing in Day One Presidential Appointees in a virtual ceremony.
During the afternoon, Ms Harris will be tasked with swearing in three new Democratic Senators: Georgia election winners Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and her replacement as California senator, Alex Padilla.
New White House press secretary Jen Psaki will also hold her first press briefing.
1am: Mr Biden and Ms Harris attend the Celebrating America special, hosted by Tom Hanks, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington. Performers include Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake
The grand-finale of the inauguration is the star-studded made-for-TV event ‘Celebrating America’.
The show is being hosted by the Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, with actresses Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington also set to introduce segments throughout the special, including one called ‘stories of young people making a difference in their communities.’
A swath of musical performers are also slated to take center stage. Among them is rock legend Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard.
According to the inaugural committee, each of the artists will perform from ‘iconic locations across the country’.
The special is due to last 90 minutes and will be available to watch on numerous US networks and cable TV channels, including ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and NBC. It will also be streamed live on the committee’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch pages.
Mr Biden and Ms Harris are also both expected to speak before the show ends.
2:55am: Mr Biden and Miss Harris appear on the Blue Room Balcony
The day is expected to end just before 10pm US time (3am tomorrow morning in the UK), when the new president and his vice-president will make an appearance on the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.
Joe Biden profile: America’s new leader is tasked with healing a nation as he becomes the 46th US president
The highest death toll from coronavirus in the world and an economic fallout leaving millions jobless has compounded the turmoil of a bitterly-divided nation where democracy itself at times seemed in jeopardy.
It falls to Joe Biden to begin a repair job on a gargantuan scale when he enters the White House as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday.
The Democratic former vice-president to Barack Obama pitched his campaign as a ‘battle for the soul’ of the nation and has been known for reaching across the divide to seal bipartisan agreement during his career in Congress.
Joe Robinette Biden Jr, who at the age of 78 will become the oldest president to take office, was born in Pennsylvania in 1942 to a Catholic family that can trace its roots back to Ballina, Ireland, from where his great, great, great grandfather – Edward Blewitt – left for America during the famine.
Mr Biden earned a law degree from Syracuse University in 1968 and four years later began his first of six terms as a senator for the state of Delaware, being elected in 1972 as the sixth youngest senator in US history at the age of 30.
Then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden (left) points during a heading on Capitol Hill on October 12, 1991
But his entry into Congress was marred by the darkest of tragedies.
Just weeks after the election, his first wife Neilia was at the wheel of the family’s Chevy station wagon with their three children as they returned from buying a Christmas tree.
A tractor smashed into the car’s side, killing Neilia and baby Naomi. Hunter, then two, sustained a head injury and three-year Beau was treated in hospital with broken bones.
Mr Biden took the oath of office from their hospital room.
‘For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide,’ he later said.
But ‘the bigger the highs, the deeper the troughs’ he would say and he found tactics for coping with his grief, raising his two boys as he rose in seniority in the Senate.
He met Jill Jacobs on a blind date in 1975 and married the aspiring teacher two years later. They had a daughter, Ashley, in 1981.
His first attempt at the White House was in 1988 but he was forced to withdraw from the Democratic nomination contest after he admitted to plagiarising parts of a speech from British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
The year before, Mr Kinnock said in a conference speech: ‘Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?
‘Was it because all our predecessors were thick?’
Then-Vice President Joe Biden with his son Hunter at the Duke Georgetown NCAA basketball game in Washington on January 30, 2010
Without crediting the MP, Mr Biden echoed on the campaign trail: ‘Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?
‘Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?’
Mr Biden continued in the Senate, where his record has come under intense scrutiny from modern-day progressives.
He failed to ensure Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations were fairly examined while overseeing the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
He played a role drafting a sweeping crime bill blamed for contributing to mass incarceration, voted for deregulation of Wall Street and the war in Iraq.
He also worked with segregationist senators in the 1970s, with a joke during a 2019 fundraiser about one having ‘never called me ‘boy’, he always called me ‘son” leading to widespread criticism because of the comment’s racial undertones.
His second run for the Democratic candidacy, in 2007, concluded with him pulling out and joining the Obama ticket, going on to be the deputy for the first black president, his loyalty being rewarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.
They were seen as having a close friendship, almost brotherly, during the two terms and Mr Obama described him as the ‘best vice president America ever had’.
Mr Biden voiced support for LGBT rights, beating the president to the endorsement of same-sex marriage when he said he was ‘absolutely comfortable’ with the idea in 2012.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden (far left) along with President Barack Obama (second left) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (second right), watch the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington DC on May 1, 2011
He was also key in getting the Affordable Care Act, which secured health insurance for millions of Americans, through Congress.
Personal tragedy struck Mr Biden again, in 2013, when his son Beau was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Consistently ranked as one of the least well-off senators, he planned to take out a second mortgage to cover his son’s mounting bills.
‘Don’t do that,’ Mr Obama said. ‘I’ll give you the money. I have it. You can pay me back whenever.’ Mr Biden did not take him up on the offer.
Beau died in 2015 at the age of 46.
Health care is intensely personal to Mr Biden, once saying with regard to his son’s terminal diagnosis: ‘I can’t fathom what would have happened if the insurance companies had the power to say ‘last few months, you’re on your own’.’
After years of watching the chaos of Donald Trump’s White House, Mr Biden entered the race for the Democratic nomination for a third time, securing the endorsement when his final competitor, Bernie Sanders, dropped out in April.
In the post-Me Too era, Mr Biden did not just face uncomfortable questions about Ms Hill. He was accused by former staff member Tara Reade of sexual assault, though Mr Biden and his campaign team have strongly denied the allegation.
The race for the White House was often brutal, with the Republican labelling his opponent ‘sleepy Joe’ as he tried to portray the man three years his senior as senile.
Covid-19 gripped the nation and it was only exacerbated by Mr Trump’s erratic response. The death toll this month exceeded 360,000.
America also faced a reckoning for racism in its history and present when George Floyd, a black man, died at the hands of three police officers in Minnesota in scenes that horrified the world.
Protests gripped the nation while Mr Trump fanned the flames.
Mr Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate, she would become the first black person – and woman – to be elected to the role.
When the nation went to the polls on November 3 the atmosphere was febrile, with genuine fears of heavily armed militias on the streets.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden looks upwards while listening to President Barack Obama speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on November 9, 2016
The race was tighter than the pollsters predicted but as Mr Biden appeared to be on course for victory, his opponent fouled the air by falsely claiming victory and making baseless allegations that he was the victim of a massive electoral fraud aided by the huge uptick in postal votes because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Mr Biden was calling for calm, telling supporters: ‘It ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.’
The Republicans mounted legal bids to overturn the result in numerous swing states but each was dismissed, and after the counting was in Mr Biden had made major gains for the Democrats.
His victory was cemented on November 7 when he clinched the key battleground of Pennsylvania, having turned Georgia blue and returning states previously lost to Mr Trump back to the Democratic fold.
In a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said: ‘I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify.
‘And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of all of you, and for that, I believe, is what America is all about.’
More moderate than some of the Democratic opponents he beat, there was optimism that Mr Biden may have what it takes to heal the nation.
But Mr Trump has gone about making that task as hard as possible, stoking tensions to the point of fever pitch when he urged a mob of loyalists to march on the Capitol on January 6.
They did just that and mounted what approached an insurrection, fighting with police when they stormed Congress in an attempt to overturn the election as lawmakers were confirming Mr Biden’s victory.
Five people died as a result of the siege, including one Trump supporter who was shot by police and a Capitol police officer.
Cementing his notoriety in the history books, Mr Trump became the first president to be impeached twice when some Republicans voted with House Democrats on a charge of inciting insurrection.
He could be prevented from ever holding public office again if more lawmakers from his own party back his conviction during a Senate trial.
Mr Biden will need to live up to every bit of his acclaimed prowess for reaching across the divide and to his passion for improving the health prospects of ordinary Americans after he is inaugurated on Wednesday and he inherits a nation that has been ripped through by Covid-19 and is in perhaps its most divided state since the civil war.
Donald Trump’s exit marks end of a turbulent chapter in ‘special relationship’
Joe Biden’s inauguration marks the start of a new chapter in the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the US following a turbulent and chaotic period under Donald Trump.
Both Theresa May and then Boris Johnson sought to keep close ties with the White House, but President Trump’s erratic behaviour made that difficult and occasionally embarrassing.
Ultimately, following the violent scenes at the Capitol, the Prime Minister was forced to denounce a president he had repeatedly praised.
– January 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May becomes the first foreign leader to meet new US President Donald Trump for talks, just a week after his inauguration, and they are pictured in Washington holding hands as they walk.
US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House in Washington DC on January 27, 2017
– May 2017
A row erupts between the US and British authorities after sensitive information is leaked to American news outlets in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack. Two days later, Mrs May says Mr Trump has made it clear the leaks were ‘unacceptable’.
Joe Biden’s return to Paris climate accord raises hopes of boost to global action
Joe Biden’s presidency is set to begin with the US rejoining the world’s climate accord, raising hopes of renewed momentum on tackling global warming.
Mr Biden’s promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately is being widely welcomed – but is only the first step for the world’s second biggest polluter, with the global community keen to see what US climate action will follow.
And the UK Government is being urged to turn the new momentum the move will provide into action at home and on the international stage, in the run up to a UN summit that aims to drive efforts to curb dangerous warming of the planet.
The US formally left the Paris accord on the day after the presidential election in November, the only nation to do so in a move instigated by President Donald Trump, who pursued environmentally damaging policies while in office.
The deal commits countries to curb global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels and aim for a more stringent 1.5C limit to avoid the worst climate impacts, which requires pollution to be cut to net-zero within a few decades.
The world remains well off track to meet those goals, and countries are expected to bring forward new, more ambitious climate plans ahead of the UN Cop26 summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November.
Mr Biden has pledged to ensure the US reaches net-zero emissions by 2050, and as part of the return to the Paris Agreement, his administration must submit a new national action plan on how it will curb pollution this decade.
Countries such as China – which has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 but has not yet put forward its national plan – will be watching closely to see what action Mr Biden drives forward in the coming months.
During the election campaign, Mr Biden pledged 2 trillion dollars over four years as part of efforts to push towards 100% clean electricity by 2035, drive take up of zero-emissions vehicles and making buildings more efficient, as well as a diplomatic push on climate action.
With wins in two Senate races in the state of Georgia earlier this month, the Democrats now have a slim majority in the Senate which will make it easier to pass funding for climate action.
Alok Sharma, who is president of the Cop26 talks, said: ‘The Paris Agreement is the world’s most powerful tool for driving international climate action.
‘So I am delighted that President Biden has stated his intent to put climate change at the top of his new agenda by rejoining and pledging that the US will commit to reaching net-zero.
‘The responsibility to safeguard our planet for future generations rests with all of us. As hosts of Cop26, the UK will be working closely with the new US administration on this shared and pressing challenge.’
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband welcomed the US returning to the global fight against climate change as a ’cause for celebration and relief’.
That President-elect Biden is prioritising climate action on day one shows he recognises how incredibly high the stakes are,’ he said, adding the new president was right to start with strong diplomatic action abroad and a green recovery at home.
He said the same could not be said of Boris Johnson, whom he accused of treating ‘climate change policy as window dressing rather than the building blocks of our country’s recovery’, and failing to deliver plans ambitious green economic recovery.
‘Boris Johnson has a long way to go if he wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with President-elect Biden and set the global agenda.
‘Now is the time for statesmanship not showmanship, and real action not hot air.
‘Having turned our back on the countries at the frontline of the climate emergency by cutting international aid, he must now dial up his diplomatic, strategic and political efforts to the maximum ahead of the vital Cop26,’ he said.
John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, said Mr Biden’s move would breathe global momentum into the Paris deal, following more ambitious pledges last year by China, South Korea, the EU and Japan.
‘The challenge for Boris Johnson is to capture that momentum and convert it into radical action ahead of this year’s climate meeting in Glasgow,’ he said.
‘This means rolling out much stronger measures to cut the UK’s emissions in areas like buildings, transport and power.
‘As the summit’s host, this Government needs to demonstrate to the world what needs to be done to help us avoid climate breakdown.’
– June 2017
The Prime Minister condemns Mr Trump’s Twitter attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the London Bridge terror atrocity. Mr Trump had mocked Mr Khan for saying there was ‘no reason to be alarmed’ over armed police on the streets of the capital. It was not the first time the figures had traded blows, as in 2015 Mr Khan reacted to Mr Trump’s plan for a ‘Muslim ban’.
– September 2017
Mrs May delivers a rebuke to the US president after he claims the Parsons Green Tube bomber was ‘in the sights’ of Scotland Yard. The Prime Minister said: ‘I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.’
– November 2017
Downing Street and the White House fall out after Mr Trump shares an anti-Muslim video posted online by far-right group Britain First. In response to a Downing Street rebuke, the US leader tells Mrs May: ‘Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive radical Islamic terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.’
– February 2018
Mr Trump uses the NHS as an example of why universal healthcare should not reach US shores, claiming it is ‘going broke and not working’.
– March 2018
The response from Mr Trump is initially ambiguous after Russia is blamed for the Novichok nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, but the White House later states it ‘stands in solidarity’ with the UK and joins Western allies in expelling diplomats.
– May 2018
Mr Trump defends US gun laws by claiming a London hospital is ‘like a war zone’ because of the rate of stabbings in the capital. ‘They don’t have guns, they have knives,’ he said.
– July 2018
The president arrives in the UK for a working visit and immediately lobs a political hand grenade at Mrs May by criticising her approach to Brexit negotiations and lavishing praise on Boris Johnson – saying he would be a ‘great prime minister’ – just days after the Leave campaigner walked out of her Cabinet. Mr Trump seeks to repair the damage after talks at Chequers, saying the ‘incredible’ Prime Minister is ‘doing a fantastic job’. Mrs May later reveals that Mr Trump’s advice on negotiating Brexit was to ‘sue the EU’. During the visit, Mr Trump is again spotted holding the Prime Minister’s hand as they attend a banquet at Blenheim Palace, and also walks in front of the Queen during an hour-long trip to Windsor Castle as he inspects a guard of honour. Mr Trump again lays into Mr Khan, accusing him of ‘doing a terrible job’ after the London mayor declined to block a protest from flying an inflatable ‘Trump baby’ near Parliament.
– March 2019
The president says he is surprised how badly Brexit has been handled and warns that another referendum would be ‘unfair’.
– June 2019
Mr Trump makes a state visit to the UK and continues his feud with Mr Khan. As he lands in the capital, the president posts a tweet, calling the London mayor a ‘stone cold loser’ who has done a ‘terrible job’. On the same trip, the president is photographed apparently fist-bumping the Queen, and taking a handshake from Mrs May’s husband, Philip, on the doorstep of Number 10, but not from the Prime Minister. He again takes the opportunity to wade into the Brexit debate, describing an independent UK as ‘a blessing on the world’. Activists including then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn take to the streets of Westminster and cities around the UK to protest at Mr Trump’s visit.
– July 2019
British ambassador to the US Lord Darroch resigns after a leak of embarrassing emails in which he was highly critical of Mr Trump’s ‘clumsy and inept’ administration. Mr Trump says the diplomat is ‘not liked or well thought of’ and ‘we will no longer deal with him’.
– August 2019
British teenager Harry Dunn is killed when his motorbike crashes into a car allegedly being driven on the wrong side of the road by American Anne Sacoolas. Sacoolas claims immunity following the collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire and returns to the US, where the authorities continue to refuse to extradite her despite calls from the UK Government.
– December 2019
Mr Trump congratulates Mr Johnson on his ‘great win’ in the general election, and says during a visit to the UK for a Nato summit that the UK and US will be free to strike a ‘massive’ new trade deal after Brexit.
– May 2020
Black Lives Matter protests spread to the UK following the death of black man George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota. Thousands of campaigners take to the streets on multiple occasions to voice their dismay at Mr Floyd’s death and racial inequality more widely.
– October 2020
The Prime Minister sends good wishes to Mr Trump after the President and First Lady are diagnosed with coronavirus.
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019
– November 2020
Mr Trump refuses to accept the result of the US presidential election following his defeat by Joe Biden, and launches a series of doomed legal challenges. Mr Johnson is one of the first world leaders to speak to the president-elect following the protracted election count.
– December 2020
Mr Trump highlights the UK’s difficulties in combating coronavirus as he comes under pressure over his own response to the pandemic. As London enters Tier 4 restrictions, the president says: ‘We don’t want to have lockdowns. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.’
– January 2021
The Prime Minister says Mr Trump was ‘completely wrong’ to incite supporters to storm the Capitol and to continue questioning the legitimacy of the US election. At a Downing Street press conference Mr Johnson – who had enjoyed a warm relationship with the US president – said he ‘unreservedly’ condemned Mr Trump’s actions following the dramatic events in Washington in which five people were killed. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the country’s travel ban will apply to Mr Trump amid speculation that he is planning an overseas golf trip during Mr Biden’s inauguration.