Sadiq Khan is calling on the government to cancel Donald Trump’s planned state visit to the UK after the US president criticised his response to the London Bridge terror attack on Twitter.
Trump blasted the London mayor on Sunday, but took a quote from Khan completely out of context in doing so. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’,” he tweeted. Khan’s original statement had read: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.”
The mayor’s office later pointed out the president’s error, but Trump responded by accusing Khan of making a “pathetic excuse”. His tweet read: “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. [Mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!”
Khan went a step further in his response to Trump’s erroneous remarks by urging the government not to welcome the US president to the UK later this year, the Guardian reported. “I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” he told Channel 4 News last night.
“When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”
While all this was going on, prime minister Theresa May refused to take sides (no surprises there). She commended Khan for his response to the attack but failed to explicitly address Trump’s comments. “Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else – he’s doing a good job,” she said yesterday when asked if the president’s targeting of Khan was wrong.
Tension has also broken out between the president and his own acting ambassador to Britain, Lewis Lukens. Lukens stood by Khan and his response to Saturday's incident, saying: “I commend the strong leadership of the mayor of London as he leads the city forward after this heinous attack,” which didn't go down well with Trump supporters online.
Trump's backers decided to troll Lukens and accuse him of disloyalty, with others highlighting the fact that he was showing support for a Muslim foreign official, rather than the US president. Some even called for him to be sacked. We know whose side we're on.