By Cordelia Lynch, US correspondent

Before it has even begun, Donald Trump has built an epic storyline around his UK state visit.

He rarely leaves Washington without making waves and seemingly didn't want to pass up on the opportunity this time either.

Just like his previous visit, the president decided to lob a few political hand grenades before arrival, offering his views on how Britain should handle Brexit and heaping praise on his friends Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson rather than focusing on the prime minister who he's about to meet again.

But she is the lamest of lame duck prime ministers and he's a man who doesn't like to miss a chance to catch up with politicians he thinks share his language and views (even if in the case of Mr Johnson they've taken a bit of a u-turn).

The president was never going to let himself be strangled by the constraints of conventional diplomacy. But dare I say it, there is a very real chance it will all be a lot more formal and and formulaic from here on in. State visits are predominantly royal affairs, more ceremonial than political.

Mr Trump will love the pomp and pageantry and as a man with an obsessive eye on optics, he will desperately want the visuals to play well at home, especially with a re-election race around the corner.

Image: Mr Trump will meet the PM in her final days as Tory leader

There is little incentive for him to make a mess of it either.

He has a fondness for Britain, his Scottish mother loved the Queen and he's brought his adult children along for the ride.

Don't underestimate how much he'll delight in the occasion of it all. A state visit has the ability to leave its guests awe-struck.

Of course there is some so-called "executive time" baked in and a dinner where he gets to choose the guests. That has the potential to provide an uncomfortable sideshow.

 on July 12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
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