Donald Trump will not stay away from London to dodge huge protests planned for his visit in July, the US ambassador has insisted.
Woody Johnson said the expected demonstrations would not deter the “thick-skinned” president, promising: “He will definitely be coming to London.”
Human rights groups have already vowed to protest when Mr Trump arrives on July 13 – and a planned visit earlier this year was scrapped, apparently because of his desire to avoid angry crowds.
There is speculation that, as a result, Mr Trump will meet the Queen or other royals at Windsor Castle – or even Scotland – and the prime minister at her Chequers retreat.
Kate Allen, UK director of campaign group Amnesty International, said: “When Donald Trump arrives on these shores, we and thousands of our supporters will very definitely be making our voices heard.”
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, tweeted: “If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.”
However, Mr Johnson insisted Mr Trump would not avoid the capital, telling LBC Radio: “He’s very thick-skinned. He knows what he wants to do and he speaks in a very clear and unusual way from most politicians.
“Most politicians don’t weigh it out the way he does and so he is going to get a lot of criticism for that as people interpret where he is taking everything.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged it would be “all hands on deck” to prepare for the visit and that details had not been tied down, but insisted: “He will definitely be coming to London”.