Donald Trump ‘got the message’ from Londoners over state visit, Sadiq Khan says


Sadiq Khan today said US President Donald Trump “got the message” from Londoners after he cancelled his planned visit to the capital next month. 

The US President was due to make the trip to London for the opening of the new £750 million US embassy next month.

But he has pulled out of the visit after threats of mass protests across the UK, with Mr Khan among those who had warned Mr Trump he would not be welcomed by Londoners.

After the President confirmed he had scrapped his planned trip, Mr Khan said such a visit would “without doubt” have been met by mass protests.

“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance,” the Mayor told the Standard.

“His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests. This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.

Sadiq Khan has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

“Let’s hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda.”

Last night, Mr Trump insisted that he had changed his plans because he disapproves of the location and price of the new embassy in Nine Elms, near Battersea.

“Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars,” he tweeted.

“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

In fact, the embassy’s move from Mayfair to Nine Elms was first reported in 2008 before Barack Obama was president.

Mr Trump is believed to be sending Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in his place to the opening of the new building. 

US Ambassador Woody Johnson had previously said he was looking forward to the President visiting London, saying: “I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.”

Downing Street refused to comment on the report and the US embassy in London was unavailable for comment.

The President is believed to have scheduled talks with Prime Minister Theresa May in Number 10 on February 26 and 27. Downing Street had planned to get confirmation of the dates this week, the Daily Mail reported.

His full state visit, which would include a meeting with the Queen, was not due to take place until later this year.

Donald Trump was reportedly due to meet Theresa May during the visit (PA)

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of Mr Trump, suggested that concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit’s cancellation.

“It’s disappointing – he has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest,” Mr Farage said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he accused Mr Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of supporting protests.

“Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.”

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was “very welcome he is not coming any more”, adding: “He runs counter to British values.”

Mrs May and Mr Trump fell out in November after the President re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos posted online by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group, Jayda Fransen.

At the time, the PM said Mr Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos, and the US president hit back at Mrs May on Twitter by telling her to focus on “destructive radical Islamic terrorism” in the UK, rather than on him.

The United States announced plans to move from its current embassy building in Mayfair in 2008 and the new building will open on January 16.

On the embassy web page about the project, it said: “The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.”

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