U.S. President Donald J. Trump has cancelled a planned trip to London to open the new U.S. embassy in the city.
He said the billion-dollar building (pictured), planned by previous administrations, was a “bad deal” and that he didn’t want a part in opening it.
However, London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, claimed Mr. Trump had “got the message” that he was not welcome in London.
The new U.S. embassy is in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth, London, rather than the famous central London Mayfair location of the current one.
Mr. Trump has already visited France, Poland, Japan, and China as U.S. president, with little or no protest or opposition.
Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning: “Reason I cancelled 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. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”
Prime Minister Theresa May was the first world leader to visit Mr. Trump as president, and last week insisted that he “will be coming to this country”. Mr. Trump’s planned official state visit has not yet been cancelled.
Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. This reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.
Within hours of Mr. Trump’s announcement, Mr. Khan responded with a statement. He wrote:
“Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message.
“This reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was disappointing that Mr. Trump had called off his visit.
“He’s been to countries all over the world and yet he’s not been to the one with which he’s closest,” he said.
“I would say it’s disappointing. But maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Labour party planning mass protests, those optics, he didn’t like the look of.”
In November last year, Mrs. May attacked Mr. Trump for retweeting messages highlighting Muslim violence, saying it was “wrong”. Mr. Trump hit back, telling the Prime Minister to focus on terrorism in the UK.
However, Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, told Radio 4 that Mr. Trump’s decision has nothing to do with the UK’s relationship with the U.S.
He said: “I think it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, and Korean and various other languages, and we criticise in English.
“And it’s much easier for him to read English. I don’t think he reads Arabic, but I may be wrong.”