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Bishop of Liverpool lambastes US President on eve of state visit

03 June 2019


The President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the First Lady, Melania Trump, land at Stansted

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the First Lady, Melania Trump, land at Stansted

PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s politics are “toxic and dangerous”, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, has said. He was speaking before the US President’s arrival in the UK this week.

“I don’t agree with him, I think he’s mistaken in many of his policies, and I think that the Christians who identify with him, especially in the US, are not properly responding to what our Christian faith says they should do,” Bishop Bayes told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday: “I don’t think it’s right to build walls, I don’t think it’s right to demonise and hate people, I don’t think it’s right to divide, and I think this man should be told so — not only by the folks that are in the room with him on this visit, but by the folks who will be on the streets outside with the blimp and all the other things.

“He himself says that he is a Christian, but Jesus said you know people by their fruits, and this is a guy who seems to me to be saying walls are good, people from other cultures are bad, we must not welcome people, we must exclude them. I do not believe these are Christian positions.”

President Trump landed in the UK on Monday, and will meet members of the Royal Family and politicians on Monday and Tuesday, before joining D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

Bishop Bayes has previously criticised Evangelical Christians for their support for President Trump (News, 5 January 2018).

In May, at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he would tell President Trump to “pray, respect the office, and be clear about the nature of what is justice” (News, 10 May 2018).

On Sunday, Bishop Bayes argued that President Trump’s interventions in British politics on Brexit and the Conservative leadership race represented a way of doing politics “which I frankly believe is toxic and dangerous”.

He continued: “This is a guy who believes in shooting from the hip. He tweets out policies in the middle of the night; he stirs up emotion, rather than people looking sensibly and seriously at the things that should be done in nations.”

Responding to these assertions on Monday, the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “People will have their own views on Donald Trump’s politics. He’s very controversial, but he’s also the President of our most important ally, and he’s coming here to celebrate what is the most important alliance in history. . . We have that deep friendship, and that is reflected today in a very, very close diplomatic alliance.

“I don’t pretend that I agree with Donald Trump on everything. When I was Health Secretary, I called him out on some of his comments on the NHS, and we’re very open that we don’t agree with the American approach on the Iran nuclear deal, or on climate change.”

Mr Hunt greeted the US President at Stansted airport on Monday morning.

When asked whether he thought President Trump was the leader of the free world, Bishop Bayes answered: “I think the free world, by definition, doesn’t need to be led in an authoritarian way. I think it’s true that within the United States, which is a great country, there are people who fight for freedom, and I’m glad to stand alongside them.

“I don’t think we should demonise the country, but I do think that if people are talking about freedom, we should, for a start, have the proper freedom to protest. So, I really welcome and honour those who will be out on the streets protesting [against] Donald Trump’s visit, and protesting [against] the things that he stands for. None the less, I think that it’s right that he should come here, so we can talk to the guy. Hopefully he will listen.”

As President Trump departed from Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening, he said that he expected his three-day visit to the UK to be “very important” and “very interesting” .

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