WE have all been guilty of it. You go abroad, meet new people, and in the first flush of friendship invite them to stay if they are ever down your way. All of it done with the confidence of knowing no reasonable person will ever take up the offer. Alas, it seems the Trumps, Donald and Melania, are not schooled in such niceties.

Having been promised a state visit by Theresa May, and despite the controversy last time turning his sojourn into the diplomatic equivalent of a witness protection programme, President Trump and his wife will rock up on these shores in the first week of June. Is it too late to get started on a wall?

Visit confirmed

The announcement of the visit was only minutes old when the snubs and threats started. Stand Up to Trump called the President “the world’s number one racist, warmonger and misogynist”. The Stop Trump Coalition said the protests would make the climate change stand-offs look small beer. Labour, head office and branch, made its unhappiness known, while the Scottish Government said sniffily that it was “not aware of any official plans” for the President to visit the country of his mother’s birth.

At the same time, Buckingham Palace made it known that the Trumps, unlike the Obamas, would not be staying the night because there was building work going on (that old excuse), and Speaker Bercow was still holding out against an address to Parliament, an honour also afforded to President Obama.

All in, it seems the UK would rather welcome chlorinated chicken to its shores than the 45th President and his wife.

If nothing else you do have to admire the protesters for putting yet another shift in on the outrage front. After all, Mr Trump is not the first controversial character to have walked down the red carpet of a state visit. President Xi Jinping of China, President Putin of Russia, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Nicolae Ceausescu … they come, they go, veils drawn over their country's behaviour.

Nor is the Scottish Government above playing nice when the situation appears to require it, as with First Ministerial visits to China by Jack McConnell, Alex Salmond, and his successor, Nicola Sturgeon. One recalls, too, the way the Dalai Lama was treated to a mass body swerve by Scottish Ministers on his visit a few years ago so as not to offend China. In common with many another government, successive Scottish administrations have placed the need to do business with China ahead of the desire to criticise its human rights record and government.

Speaker urged to think again

Not that this rule applies when it comes to Mr Trump’s America. Scotland exports £5.5 billion of goods to the USA, making it our number one international market. The importance of maintaining good trading relations was often cited back in the days when former FM Alex Salmond and Mr Trump where on friendly terms, only to be forgotten when an offshore wind farm got in the way. Fair weather friends indeed.

Politics is context, which brings us to another reason to hope the protests coming Mr Trump’s way will be as peaceful, law-abiding, and good-natured as last time. The US President will be in the UK ahead of travelling to France to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. As so often with such commemorations recently, one is reminded that we may not see their likes many times again. Age is against the survivors; time’s passing and the arrival of other concerns makes it less likely we will mark such events on the same scale and in a similar way in future. The very least that is owed to those soldiers who gave so much to save the world from Nazism is a peaceful, respectful service.

The D-Day commemorations are a chance, too, to remember that international alliances are the only ways to tackle global menaces, and to remind Mr Trump that isolationism, not least as preached and practised by him, is folly, and a position that does not last. The world still needs America and America needs the world.

One can understand the anger that Mr Trump attracts. To witness his treatment of migrants, women, and disabled people, is to be sickened. His defence of racists, his encouragement of hatred towards others, his abuses of office; where does the record end? Yet one thing that has to be recognised as much internationally as within America itself is the extent to which dealing with The Donald to date has been a failure. Three years into his presidency and opposition to him appears as ineffective as ever. The best that has been managed is containment, the hope being that if everyone hunkers down, endures another year and a bit of this, then the nightmare will end with the 2020 election.

Mueller victory claimed

Some had high hopes it would be over sooner when Mueller made his report. That, however, was a classic example of how the Trump administration has been able to confound its critics even when all seemed lost. What is the betting more people would have been receptive to the quiet nuance of Mueller’s findings – no collusion, but not proven on obstruction and plenty there to follow up – had the media din since he took office not been so one-note and loud? The American media has exhausted itself trying to hold this President to account, and some brilliant work has been done. But sooner or later one has to ask if the general, speculation-laden, often over-reaching approach is working.

Ex-advisors blasted

On current form, given the ridiculously rude health of the US economy and the inability of the Democrats to come together as a fighting force behind one obvious candidate (a process that will become more fraught should Joe Biden, as expected, enter the race today), Mr Trump is looking closer than ever to four more years in office. That is four more years potentially post-Brexit and with China becoming ever more powerful. A particular President is not the presidency, and what concerns us today will be seen in time as only a small part of an altogether bigger, more complicated, picture. What fools we would be to spend energy on trivialities when there is so much more to keep an eye on.