As President Trump began his state visit to the United Kingdom on Monday, all three network morning shows made sure to emphasize protests against his visit and were particularly excited by the return of a giant balloon depicting the President as a baby. The coverage echoed media reporting from Trump’s last visit to London in 2018, when the networks hyped how he was given a “not-so-royal welcome” by left-wing demonstrators.
“President Trump is the guest of honor here in a series of ceremonial celebrations, lunch hosted by the Queen in the next couple of hours. But to many Brits, he is an unwelcome guest,” correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed on NBC’s Today show. He complained: “The President stirring up controversy before he even landed this morning, trading insults with London’s mayor and offering his unsolicited opinions on British politics and Brexit.”
Minutes later in the report, Alexander touted: “The Brits are preparing for major protests, and making it’s return, that giant Trump baby balloon, meant to mock the President.” The reporter was especially impressed by his media colleagues in the UK using the balloon to promote their own biased coverage of the presidential visit: “As seen in this ad from Sky, the British broadcaster owned by NBC News’s parent company, Comcast.”
ABC’s Good Morning America seized on the same advertisement, as correspondent Terry Moran declared:
Well, President Trump gets a mixed reaction here in Britain, like most American presidents. He’s not very popular in London, he is elsewhere. But Sky News, one of the big broadcasters here, is taking advantage of that with this advertisement where a great shadow passes over London, even the Queen, to be revealed as that balloon that President Trump hates. “He’s back,” is their tag line.
Talking to Sunday Times of London royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah on CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King turned live coverage of the President’s arrival at Buckingham Palace to the protests:
Roya, have you heard anything about protests against President Trump? We’ve already seen stories heard about that very unflattering baby Trump that they say is going to be activated. What is the mood of the British people about President Trump coming to your country?
In part, Nikkhah replied: “Donald Trump, he is a divisive figure here in the UK, we are rolling out the red carpet for him. Not everybody agrees with that. They may feel free to protest.”
Even as Trump’s foreign trip barely began, reporters were ready to seek out the most unflattering headlines and images they could find.
Here are excerpts of Alexander’s June 3 report for the Today show:
7:02 AM ET
PETER ALEXANDER: President Trump is the guest of honor here in a series of ceremonial celebrations, lunch hosted by the Queen in the next couple of hours. But to many Brits, he is an unwelcome guest. The President stirring up controversy before he even landed this morning, trading insults with London’s mayor and offering his unsolicited opinions on British politics and Brexit.
ALEXANDER: The Brits are preparing for major protests, and making it’s return, that giant Trump baby balloon, meant to mock the President. As seen in this ad from Sky, the British broadcaster owned by NBC News’s parent company, Comcast.
The President already inflamed tensions here by weighing in on the fiery debate over the countries planned departure from the European Union. After criticizing embattled Prime Minister Teresa May during his last visit, now suggesting the pro-Brexit former mayor of London Boris Johnson would be a good candidate to succeed May, who leaves officer this week.
DONALD TRUMP: He’s been a friend of mine. He’s been very nice. I have a very good relationship with him.
ALEXANDER: But given President Trump’s unpopularity here, it is still unclear whether that endorsement would help or hurt Boris Johnson’s chances of becoming Britain’s next leader.