Dark underbelly to Trumps’ lavish week

 

The Trump family has enjoyed a dazzling week of white-tie dinners, grand ceremonies and private audiences with royals and world leaders during their attention-grabbing tour of Europe.

Photos splashed over front pages and shared on their Instagram accounts show the wealthy clan dining with the Queen and looking out from the balconies of Buckingham Palace with regal poise.

But beneath the surface glamour of their wildly expensive trip lies a troubling reality of growing political turmoil, and concerns over what it represents.

The US President's furious tweets and outspoken statements in interviews caused outrage before he even arrived, as he said he "didn't know (Meghan Markle) was nasty" and labelled London mayor Sadiq Khan a "stone-cold loser".

Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka at a dinner hosted by her father for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the US ambassador’s London residence of Winfield House. Picture: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka at a dinner hosted by her father for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the US ambassador’s London residence of Winfield House. Picture: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

 

Anger simmered as Donald Trump and wife Melania began their week by flying ostentatiously into Buckingham Palace in the official Marine One helicopter, while the President's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner watched from a window.

The pair are senior advisers within the administration, but they weren't the only family members partaking in the pomp and circumstance.

Mr Trump's youngest Tiffany Trump, 25, was seen at high-end London nightclub Annabel's last week, while sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric joined the group for the week's events.

Eric's wife Lara, an adviser to the President's campaign, was also present.

The youngest Trump, Barron, 13, was nowhere to be seen and had reportedly stayed home in Washington.

Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, also a presidential adviser, watch Mr Trump and First Lady Melania lay a wreath during a visit to Westminster Abbey. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, also a presidential adviser, watch Mr Trump and First Lady Melania lay a wreath during a visit to Westminster Abbey. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


The magnificent scenes also caused consternation in the US, where many observed that this looked like more than a family holiday, considering the younger Trumps' business roles.

Don Jr and Eric have taken over running the Trump Organisation, and their presence revived the spectre of conflict of interests that have so long dogged the President.

Mr and Mrs Trump stayed at the US ambassador's residence of Winfield House in Regent's Park, where they hosted the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on Wednesday night.

The Trump children stayed at the exclusive $A40,000-a-night Corinthia hotel nearby - but it was not clear whether US taxpayers would foot the bill for any of the luxury accommodation and limousines they have enjoyed while cameras tracked their every move this week.

Ms Trump and Mr Kushner look out of the window at Buckingham Palace as the President and his wife arrive by helicopter for a ceremonial welcome. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Ms Trump and Mr Kushner look out of the window at Buckingham Palace as the President and his wife arrive by helicopter for a ceremonial welcome. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 

The pair are in a powerful position as both presidential advisers and family members. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein
The pair are in a powerful position as both presidential advisers and family members. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

 

The world watched agog as American glitz met royal splendour, with the elegant spectacle seeming to bestow a layer of credibility upon a President and family often caricatured as the vulgar nouveau riche.

Mr Trump was greeted in the Palace gardens by Prince Charles, Camilla and the Queen, before a magnificent welcome ceremony, lunch and tea, a Westminster tour and a sumptuous state dinner attended by the whole family, bedecked in designer finery.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn boycotted the banquet and his colleagues openly complained that the red carpet had been rolled out for the President's visit to the UK. But none of this troubled Mr Trump, who on Tuesday met business leaders and outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May as thousands protested on the streets of central London. He easily brushed off the "very small" demonstrations, insisting there was "great love" for him in the UK as he held a joint press conference with his "outstanding" colleague.

 

Ms Trump and brothers Eric and Donald Trump Jr leave a joint press conference held by Mr Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: David Rose - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
Ms Trump and brothers Eric and Donald Trump Jr leave a joint press conference held by Mr Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: David Rose - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

His previous attacks on her failed Brexit deal appeared to be forgotten, with the President saying the UK PM had done "a good job" and should "stick around", ahead of her formal resignation on Friday. Mr Trump also met with the Brexit Party's Nigel Farage, weighed into the Conservative leadership contest and reiterated his view that the UK should refuse to pay the $70 billion divorce fee and sue the EU.

At this time of turmoil and political unrest in Europe, where far-right parties experienced a surge in recent elections, the President was a grenade thrown into its midst. The polarisation reflects the climate in the US, where calls for impeachment grew louder this week and Mr called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "nasty, vindictive, horrible person".

But the President has sailed blithely through it all, entering the Queen's orbit again on Wednesday for D-Day 75th anniversary commemoration events with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He then headed to Normandy for further solemn events, and spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Don Jr and Eric, meanwhile, checked in on the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, pouring pints for villagers and shouting, "Does Doonbeg love the Trumps?" to a rousing response.

Despite the chaos surrounding them, this has been an extraordinarily successful endeavour for the first family.

 

 

 

The dazzling state visit was a coup for Mr Trump, seen chatting comfortably with the Queen at the D-Day 75 Commemorations in Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images
The dazzling state visit was a coup for Mr Trump, seen chatting comfortably with the Queen at the D-Day 75 Commemorations in Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

True Christmas spirit shared around a table

True Christmas spirit shared around a table

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