DONALD TRUMP has ‘got the message’ that he is not welcome in the UK, London mayor Sadiq Khan said after the US president cancelled his planned visit.
Mr Trump confirmed on Twitter that he would not visit the UK to cut the ribbon on the new US embassy building in south London because he considered the move from Grosvenor Square in Mayfair to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a ‘bad deal’ and the building was in an ‘off location’.
Mr Khan — who has clashed with the president in the past — said a visit by Mr Trump would have been met by ‘mass peaceful protests’.
But Mr Khan’s comments left the government and City Hall at loggerheads as Boris Johnson accused the mayor of endangering the so-called ‘special relationship’.
Mr Trump tweeted: ‘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!’
Reacting to the announcement, Mr Khan, who clashed with the US president after Mr Trump attacked his handling of the London Bridge terror attack, said: ‘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.’
Then Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘The US is the biggest single investor in the UK — yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk. We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall.’
Before the foreign secretary’s post, a Downing Street spokesman was asked if Mr Khan had damaged the so-called ‘special relationship’.
He replied: ‘No, the US and the UK are natural resilient strong partners and allies and we do more together than any two countries in the world.’
But the spokesman said Mrs May would tell Mr Trump he is welcome in London.
Asked about the PM’s views on south London after the president described the embassy’s new site as an ‘off location’, the spokesman said: ‘I think Vauxhall is a vibrant and important part of London and home to many businesses. Obviously Apple are moving their headquarters there.’
Aydin Dikerdem, a Labour councillor for Queenstown in Wandsworth, south-west London, said Mr Trump was not welcome in his ward or the rest of the capital.
Councillor Dikerdem said: ‘The new embassy is 15 minutes from Parliament, we all know why he cancelled this visit.
‘He cancelled this visit because he knew there would be mass demonstrations if he dared to come to the opening.
‘He is not welcome in London and he certainly isn’t welcome in Queenstown.’
Jokes at the president’s expense, including poking fun at the inaccuracy of his statement and comparing him to a London taxi driver for refusing to travel south of the River Thames, flooded social media.
Hundreds of replies to the president’s tweet took issue with the idea that his predecessor Barack Obama was the person who authorised the change of location.
One such reply from Andy Greatbatch read: ‘That’s just not true Donald. The decision to move the U.S embassy in London was initiated by G.W Bush’s administration. You can’t keep blaming your wonderful predecessor. The fact is the UK people don’t want you to visit the UK and you know that.’
Some Londoners humorously noted that they too would resist crossing the Thames.
Twitter user @looksquiteyoung wrote: ‘To be fair this is normally my reaction to getting invited somewhere south of the river too…’