Members of the British House of Commons on Monday slammed Donald Trump as a "xenophobe," a "buffoon," "crazy," and "a ridiculous individual" while debating a petition to bar the leading Republican candidate for president from traveling to England.
The onslaught of criticism came from members across the political spectrum, many of whom expressed surprise that they held similar views about Trump and regarded him as a racist, a misogynist, or worse, but didn't believe he should be banned from the country.
"We have to come to grips with the fact that this ridiculous individual, Mr. Trump … may be elected president of the United States," said Paul Flynn, a member of the Labor Party, who led the debate on a Trump travel ban.
Even though he regards Trump as someone who incites violence, Flynn argued against a ban on his travel there. If Britain were to ban Trump from traveling there, he said it would amount to an "almighty snub," and actually play into Trump's hands by affixing on him a "halo of victimhood" and making him a "martyr."
Paul Scully, a member of the Conservative Party, pointed out that another petition exists inviting Trump to address Parliament, although it only has 75 signatures.
Scully noted that British law has banned people from entering the country who have incited violence or hatred, but he has "never heard of one for stupidity … and I don't think we should start now."
Some members of Parliament wondered openly what would happen if the resolution were passed, and then Trump became the next president.
The House of Commons was forced to take up the unconventional debate after a petition banning the businessman-turned-politician's travel to Britain gathered 560,000 signatures. Parliament must debate any public petition that gathers more than 100,000 signatures, and members of the House of Commons Monday were quick to note that they would not determine whether to impose the ban, and that that decision would be made by Home Secretary Theresa May.
The petition is the brainchild of Scottish freelance journalist and activist Suzanne Kelly. It calls for the 69-year-old Trump to be barred from British shores because of his "hate speech" after he called for a travel ban on Muslims entering the United States.
As of early Monday afternoon, Trump had yet to respond personally to the debate or the slew of insults hurled at him from across the Atlantic Ocean, but a represenative from Trump's golf course in Scotland called it an "absurd" waste of Parliament's time.
Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, also said Westminster is creating a dangerous precedent and sending a terrible message to the world.
"For the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about America's borders during a U.S. election campaign is ridiculous," she said in a statement. "Our politicians would do better to debate how to solve the challenges facing our own country and its people, like the tens of thousands of job losses in the oil industry and the thousands more job cuts planned."
The views of those signing the petition do not represent the vast majority of British people, she argued. She also noted that Trump is investing hundreds of millions of pounds into the Scottish economy with Trump International Golf Links, a course that opened in 2012 and is in its third full playing season.
The course, she said, has attracted tens of thousands of much needed overseas visitors to the region, and any attempt to ban Trump would force him to abandon his plans for another investment worth 700 million pounds.
"With the collapse of the oil price, the investment in Aberdeen has never been more important, and Mr. Trump is likely to spend more than he initially planned when the economy recovers," she said.
Tulip Siddiq, a member of the Labor Party arguing in favor of the Trump ban, pointed out that others have been prohibited from entering the country for making similar statements as Trump's call for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.
Siddiq specifically noted that the Home secretary decided to bar a woman blogger who equated the entire Muslim population with the views of extremist jihadists. She also accused Trump of misogynistic speech, noting that he has referred to women as "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs" and "disgusting animals."
"Are we going to make an exception for a billionaire businessman?" she asked.
Edward Leigh, a conservative, predicted that Trump wouldn't be "all too worried about this debate." Leigh added that he offends people in the House of Commons all the time, and said "that's my right to do."
He noted that banning Trump makes little sense when members of Parliament have welcomed leaders of brutal regimes to the country — "people who don't just talk about violence."
Leigh also warned that the House of Commons maybe be lowering ourselves to "demagoguery in response to a demagogue."