Trump U.K. state visit: Pro-Trump activist stabs "Trump baby" balloon in London

/ CBS News

Thousands protest Trump's U.K. visit as president dismisses demonstrations as "fake news"

The president's trip to the U.K. has been met with protests, and the president has delivered some fiery words of his own.

Anti-Trump protests were planned for Tuesday in London, including a robotic "Trump" sat upon a toilet that will be paraded around the city — along with the infamous "Trump baby" balloon.

Mr. Trump's spat with London Mayor Sadiq Khan has played out on Twitter. On Monday, the president compared him to one of his arch rivals, Bill de Blasio.

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"I don't think much of him," the president said of Khan Sunday night. "I think that he's the twin of de Blasio, except shorter." Mr. Trump called Khan a "stone cold loser."

Why is Trump feuding with London Mayor Sadiq Khan?

Khan criticized Mr. Trump in 2016 for his views on Islam, calling Mr. Trump "ignorant." At the time, Mr. Trump responded by questioning Khan's IQ.

Despite low approval ratings in the U.K., the president tweeted that he thought the media would have to work "hard" to find people demonstrating against his presence in the British capital. Over the past couple days, a handful of demonstrators have popped up in London wearing Mr. Trump's trademark "MAGA" hats, supporting his visit.

London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic. The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong. Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our Country. Haven't seen any protests yet, but I'm sure the….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019

​Pro-Trump activist stabs baby Trump balloon

The infamous balloon depicting President Trump as a giant, diaper-clad baby was stabbed during a protest in London on Tuesday. While many rallied against Mr. Trump's official state visit to Britain, one supporter stabbed the baby blimp with a sharp object that resulted in its deflation.

She captured the moment on video, telling onlookers, "I think Donald Trump's balloon is not very well." She also held up her hand, covered in blood from the incident, before being taken away by police.

— Sophie Lewis

Trump sees only "love, great love"

Mr. Trump was dismissive of the protests against his visit on Tuesday.

Speaking alongside Prime Minister Theresa May outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, Mr. Trump focused on the warm reception he said he had received the previous day from the British royal family.

He said on his way to and from Buckingham Palace on Monday, he saw the streets lined with supporters waving U.S. and British flags.

Trump calls "fake news" on protests against his U.K. visit

"It was love, great love," Mr. Trump said. "I didn't see the protesters until just a little while ago and it was a very small group of people, so it was fake news."

Representatives of "Together Against Trump," which helped to organize the anti-Trump protests, claimed that an estimated 75,000 people were in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against the U.S. leader's visit.

CBS News journalists who covered the protests felt the estimate was likely an over-estimation, but London's Metropolitan Police do not provide official estimates of protest attendance.

Beyond anger; disappointment

Stephanie Onamade, a college student in London, helped organize Tuesday's protests for the group she represents, "Stand up to Racism."

"He's not welcome here," she said of Mr. Trump. "He doesn't represent the values in the U.K., especially not in London; his attacks on Sadiq Khan, climate denying, abortion — the list is endless. So we're out here today for all those people who want to stand up against those things."

Stephanie Onamade, student protest leader representing the "Stand up to Racism" group, speaks to CBS News at a demonstration against President Trump's state visit to Britain, in London, June 4, 2019. CBS

Onamade said there was a notable difference in the atmosphere compared to the protests last year during Mr. Trump's first visit to London as president.

"It has been harder to organize people this time, but I don't think it's necessarily smaller," she said. "But we cant tell yet."

She said some Britons may have had less fire in their bellies over Mr. Trump's presence this year because they were "disappointed that he's even been invited for a state visit… what's the point if our government has already decided that they consider him welcome? It's not something that is voted on, who we give state visits to, even thought it is allocation of our money."

Onamade said that while last year's protests were a manifestation of anger, this year the atmosphere was "more celebratory of the values that we have."

Opposition leader Corbyn addresses protesters

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, addressed gathered protesters in central London on Tuesday, noting that he was "very disappointed" that Mr. Trump had "attacked" Mayor Sadiq Khan, a fellow Labour politician.

"In welcoming visitors from the U.S.," Corbyn said, "I hope there can be a conversation. I am not, absolutely not refusing to meet anybody. I want to be able to have that dialogue to bring about the better and more peaceful world that we all want to live in."

"But I am very disappointed, particularly today on their wonderful festival of Eid, that our mayor has been attacked the way that he has. I am proud that our city has a Muslim mayor, that we can chase down Islamophobia, racism of any kind, within our society. Racism divides. Exploitation of minorities divides."

BRITAIN-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses a demonstration against the State Visit of President Donald Trump in central London on June 4, 2019. Getty

Corbyn's remarks felt like a campaign speech, and could well have been intended as such given the tumultuous nature of British politics and the possibility of national elections being called at any point.

He said he was willing to meet with anybody, including Mr. Trump, though no such meeting has been discussed. Mr. Trump is instead planning to meet with at least one Conservative Party contender to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.

Corbyn said he hoped to help build a "peaceful world where we don't solve our problems by going to war — we solve our problems by understanding history." He also touted his own fight in Parliament to push for greater measures to address climate change.

Corbyn urged Mr. Trump and his entourage to "think on, please, about a world that is one of peace and disarmament, is one of recognizing the values of all people, is a world that defeats racism, defeats misogyny."

He said the leaders of the "far-right" in Europe and around the world had "no answers" to the problems facing the planet.

Tension in the rain

Police move handful of protesters with pro-Trump hats inside after brief scuffles break out between them and anti-Trump protesters @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/skW3KlGH9o

— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 4, 2019

As the rain picked up in London, a handful of pro-Trump demonstrators got into a heated shouting match with dozens of anti-Trump protesters near Trafalgar Square.

CBS News' Haley Ott said there were obscene words and gestures hurled from both sides and that police eventually had to separated them as they began pushing and shoving.

The protest in central London against Mr. Trump appeared smaller in number than the massive rallies which marked his first visit to London last year. That was not an official state visit.

Robotic Trump on toilet debuted

This year, the "Trump baby" balloon has competition as an artistic protest medium.

As CBS News' Haley Ott reported, an American dinosaur and robotics expert commissioned a giant, $25,000 robot depicting the U.S. president on a golden toilet, tweeting. The robot, which made its debut on Tuesday at the protest epicenter in London's Trafalgar Square, says — in Mr. Trump's voice — phrases including, "No collusion," and "I'm a very stable genius."

Protest art: Giant "Dumping Trump" robot says things like, "I'm a very stable genius" while tweeting on the toilet. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/brWW8bXV0k

— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 4, 2019

Don Lessem, the founder of Pennsylvania-based Dino Don Inc., which creates robotic dinosaur exhibits around the world, commissioned the robot. He was an adviser on the Steven Spielberg movie, Jurassic Park, and has written 40 books on natural history, according to the company's website.

"He uses humor as his weapon of choice to combat what he thinks is a very serious problem," Dre Demas, chief installer for Dino Don Inc., told CBS News on Monday.

"Trump baby" flies again

The "Trump Baby" balloon was launched outside the British Parliament on Tuesday, kicking off a day of planned protests against the U.S. president's state visit to the U.K.

"We absolutely want Trump and his politics of hate to feel unwelcome," Anna Vickerstaff, an organizer of the balloon protest, told CBS News. "We know that we need a working relationship with the U.S., and we're not saying that he shouldn't be here at all. What we are protesting is the level at which the red carpet has been rolled out for him."

"We absolutely want Trump and his politics of hate to feel unwelcome," Anna Vickerstaff, Trump Baby balloon organiser, tells @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/708oTjZHyQ

— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 4, 2019

A few dozen people showed up to see the balloon inflated, including some American tourists who had rearranged their visits to London to participate in the demonstrations.

Roy and daughter Allison were visiting from Minnesota to celebrate her graduation from college.

"If he's here to try and say he's representing our country, I think we have to be here to say that he isn't," Allison told CBS News.

One British demonstrator wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat said he was nervous about being in the minority, but wanted to make sure there were a plurality of voices represented.

Sole demonstrator in MAGA hat says he wants to encourage civil discourse. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/8X33X1ugtt

— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 4, 2019

"What I want people to do today is have a bit of civil discourse, find some common ground. Don't just say, 'Orange man bad,'" he said.

First published on June 4, 2019 / 6:13 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

stephanie-onamade-trump-protest.jpg BRITAIN-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY

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