EUROPE

Trump 'got the message', London mayor says

Sadiq Khan's remarks come after US president cancels his February trip to UK

Anadolu Agency

London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday said U.S. President Donald Trump "got the message" after the cancellation of a planned presidential visit to London in February.

"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," Khan said on his official Twitter account.

The U.S. president confirmed on Twitter late Thursday that he would not visit the U.K. to open the new U.S. embassy building in south London.

Trump said he thought the embassy's move was a "bad deal" and the building was in an "off location".

The president added that the reason for cancelling the trip was his displeasure at former President Barack Obama having sold the current embassy for "peanuts" and having built a replacement for $1 billion. However, the plans for the embassy move came to surface back in 2008 before Obama came into office.

Khan said Trump's visit next month "would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests".

The mayor also criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for having extended a state visit invitation to Trump last January.

"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," he said. "Let's hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda," he added.

The invitation by May was extended to Trump during her visit to the U.S. on Jan. 27, 2017, sparking criticism in the U.K. due to the new president’s controversial travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

A petition calling on the British government to cancel the invitation was signed by over 1.85 million people last year. It said any official state visit should be axed "because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty, the Queen".

It also said Trump's "well documented misogyny and vulgarity" disqualified him from meeting the Queen or other British royals.

The government responded to the parliamentary petition, saying it believed the American leader should "be extended the full courtesy" of an official reception.

Trump's planned visit to the U.K. came under further attention last November when he re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos originally posted by a fringe far-right group Britain First, an action Theresa May labelled "wrong".

Khan had commented at the time saying he was "not welcome" to visit the U.K. saying "President Trump ... used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country".

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