By Claire Zillman
August 17, 2017

It may be an invitation that Theresa May regrets extending.

Ever since the British prime minister asked Donald Trump to visit the U.K., the trip has been a point of contention between May and her opponents, with the latter repeatedly seeking to revoke the invitation as a means of passing judgment on Trump’s agenda and behavior.

The opposition’s latest demand came yesterday after Trump again cast blame for the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides.” In arguing that there were “fine people” among the neo-Nazis, Trump arguably legitimized white supremacists, putting them on the same moral plane as those protesting racism.

May criticized Trump’s remarks yesterday, telling reporters, “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

But there were calls for her to go a step further and cancel Trump’s (still unscheduled) visit to the U.K. “A state visit by Donald Trump would shame this country and betray all we stand for. Theresa May should revoke the invitation immediately,” said Nia Griffith, the shadow defense secretary.

May faced the same demand in June after Trump criticized and misrepresented London Mayor Sadiq Khan just hours after the terrorist attack on London Bridge. And in February, her government rejected a petition, signed by 2 million people, to scrap Trump’s trip due to the president’s “well-documented misogyny and vulgarity.”

May has been careful in her critiques of Trump, relying on language that communicates disapproval of his often-divisive rhetoric but is vague enough to not jeopardize the countries’ “special relationship.” Indeed, on Wednesday, 10 Downing Street said May’s position had not changed, and that the offer of a state visit had been “extended and accepted.”

—@clairezillman

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