Day before state visit, Trump denies that he called Meghan Markle “nasty”

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PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/Associated Press

In this January 27, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk along the colonnades of the White House in Washington. During his state visit starting June 3, Trump will meet with May as her authority is fading. Earlier this week, Trump said in an interview that the Duchess of Sussex, formerly Meghan Markle "was nasty." He later denied the reports, despite an audio recording of the interview.

By JONATHAN LEMIRE, KEVIN FREKING AND DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Like a bull who keeps returning to the china shop, President Donald Trump is headed back to Europe, where he has strained historic friendships and insulted his hosts on previous visits. This time, he faces an ally in turmoil and a global call to renew democratic pacts. British Prime Minister Theresa May will step down days after Trump visits and French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle that turned the tide in Europe to call for strengthening the multinational ties the U.S. president has frayed.

THE AGENDA

Trump is to arrive in London on June 3 for a two-day whirlwind of pomp, circumstance and protests, including meetings with the royal family and an extravagant state dinner at Buckingham Palace. He is likely to be shadowed by demonstrators, who during his visit to England last summer flooded the streets and flew an inflatable balloon depicting the president as a baby.

The agenda for Trump’s weeklong journey is both ceremonial and official: a state visit and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel and his first presidential visit to Ireland, which will include a stay at his coastal golf club.

What should have been a routine visit with the Irish prime minister grew complicated due to the president’s unprecedented blending of government duties and business promotion. Trump will spend two nights at his club in Doonbeg, which sits above the Atlantic, and the White House originally insisted that he and his Irish counterpart meet there.

After Dublin balked, a deal was struck for Trump to meet Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Shannon’s airport.

The centerpiece of the president’s visit will be two days to mark the D-Day anniversary, likely the last significant commemoration most veterans of the battle will see. The anniversary events will begin in Portsmouth, England, where the invasion was launched, and then move to Normandy, France, where Allied forces began to recapture Western Europe from the Nazis.

A “NASTY” VISIT

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Trump weighed in on the American-born Duchess of Sussex. The former Meghan Markle, who gave birth in May and will not attend the week’s events, was critical of Trump in the past, prompting the president to tell The Sun, “I didn’t know that she was nasty.” He said later in the interview that he thought Markle would be “very good” as a royal.

Markle supported Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, calling Trump “divisive” and “misogynistic.”

Trump pushed back on Sunday against reports that he had described Markle as “nasty.” He tweeted that the media made up the reports. 

The Sun posted the audio of the interview on its website.

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