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White House Denies Report That Trump Wants A Lavish Carriage For UK State Visit (UPDATE)

A spokeswoman called the report "completely false."

16/04/2017 2:26 AM AEST | Updated 18/04/2017 7:27 AM AEST

The White House on Saturday denied a report that President Donald Trump had demanded a royal carriage to ride in during an upcoming state visit to the U.K.

“We have not even begun working on details for this trip,” a White House spokeswoman said, according to People.

Earlier:

President Donald Trump is reportedly demanding that a trip in a royal carriage be a part of his itinerary during a state visit to Britain later this year, according to the U.K.’s The Times.

A carriage procession from London’s Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace is a normal part of the protocol for a state visit. But The Times notes that President Barack Obama chose not to travel in the carriage during a 2011 visit, opting instead to make the trip in his armored limousine.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

If Trump does travel by carriage, he could likely use the lavish gold-plated Diamond Jubilee State coach, which other foreign dignitaries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, have used during past state visits.

Sources told The Times that the carriage was not as secure as the president’s traditional armored vehicle, which is bulletproof and can protect against a chemical attack and a small bomb.

Security officials are preparing for massive protests during Trump’s visit, which The Times reported will require unprecedented security. The Evening Standard reported in February that policing costs for the visit could be up to 7 million pounds.

“The vehicle which carries the president of the United States is a spectacular vehicle. It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade,” a source told The Times. “If he’s in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed. If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased.”

The drain on resources for a carriage trip may be of little significance to Trump. He has stretched the Secret Service thin and spent millions in American taxpayer funds to protect his family and to take frequent weekend trips to his estate in Florida.

Trump, known to obsess over imagery and the way he appears on television, toyed with the idea of having military equipment in his inaugural parade.

More than 1.8 million people signed an online petition earlier this year arguing that Queen Elizabeth II shouldn’t extend a formal invitation for a state visit to Trump because “it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”

In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to Trump on behalf of the queen for a state visit. He accepted.

“This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote in response to the petition. “At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit.”

This story has been updated to include the White House’s comments as reported in People magazine.

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