British Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has doubled down on his assertion that U.S. President Donald Trump should not be invited to speak before the U.K. Parliament. In Bercow's view, Trump's policies and rhetoric disqualify him from addressing British lawmakers in Westminster Hall.
On Nov. 9, Bercow reflected on his speech denouncing Trump's invitation to Parliament in early 2017. The Commons Speaker stood by his rhetoric, The Independent reports.
"Yes, I was speaking my own view," Bercow said during an event at Queen Mary University of London. "I had a sense that I was speaking for a majority of the House. I was unscripted."
On Jan. 27, British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump for a U.K. state visit during which he would meet Queen Elizabeth II and speak before Parliament. Trump described the invitation as an honor, according to CNN.
Trump's invitation for a state visit arrived much faster than it had for his recent predecessors. Former President Barack Obama was not invited to speak before the U.K. Parliament until May 2011, two years after he began his first term.
On Feb. 6, Bercow called for Trump to be disinvited from speaking before Parliament, asserting during a speech before the House of Commons that the U.S. president was both racist and sexist. Members of the U.K. Labour Party praised Bercow's speech, though some British lawmakers criticized him for not being impartial, the BBC reports.
Bercow said during his Nov. 9 interview that he still believed Trump did not deserve to address Parliament.
"An address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor," Bercow said. "My view was that [Trump] had not earned that honor. And my view is that he has not earned that honor."
The Commons Speaker added: "Whether there is an invitation to address both Houses of Parliament is not a bauble to be handed out by the prime minister of the day, it is not a government's prerogative, that is a matter for the speakers of two Houses."
Bercow also criticized May for inviting Trump just one week after he took office.
"The idea that the prize should be offered to President Trump within weeks of his election struck me as absolutely extraordinary," Bercow said.
On Oct. 20, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated that Trump would not visit the U.K. until 2018. Sanders did not clarify whether Trump would make a state visit or a working visit, which would be a more stripped-down trip that would not include a meeting with the royal family, The Guardian reports.
"We're still going back and forth with our allies there and once we have those travel details outlined and determined we'll certainly let you know," Sanders said. "But they've made the invitation for the president to come. We've accepted and we're working out the logistics."
Sources: BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The Independent / Featured Image: Shealah Craighead/The White House via Flickr / Embedded Images: University of Essex/Flickr, Shealah Craighead/The White House via Flickr