London mayor slams Donald Trump after support for far-right
U.S. relations with London are falling down.
Sadiq Khan, mayor of the British capital, led calls to stop any official visit from President Trump after he reposted anti-Muslim videos from a far-right group in the U.K.
Khan said that Trump had “used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country” when he reposted videos from a leader of the party Britain First purporting to show Muslims attacking people.
Trump’s support for the group, whose name was shouted before the assassination of a Labour lawmaker last year, renewed debate over a proposed visit from the commander-in-chief.
“After this latest incident, it is increasingly clear that any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed,” Khan said.
Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major Western city, has previously become a target for Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., with the pair singling him out for criticism as London recovered from terrorist attacks.
He added Thursday that “many Brits who love America and Americans will see this as a betrayal of the special relationship between our two countries.”
Plans for the president to hop across the pond, where he is deeply unpopular have been continuously delayed but are expected to go forward next year.
Reports last month said that a proposed State Visit that would include meeting with Queen Elizabeth II had been downgraded to a “working visit” with less ceremony.
It is not clear how Trump’s trumpeting of Britain First’s Jayda Fransen, who has been convicted of harassing a Muslim woman and faces another charge over a threatening speech, will burn what is left of the bridge between the two countries.
Fallout from the tweets reached all the way to 10 Downing Street, with Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May saying that Trump was wrong to have shone the spotlight on the far-right.
Trump responded, originally by targeting a different Theresa May on Twitter before correcting himself, and said “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”
Distaste at the American leader throwing his weight into British politics prompted defense of the prime minister even from her political opponents.
Brendan Cox, whose Labour lawmaker wife Jo Cox was killed by an assassin shouting “Britain First” last year, rebuked Trump almost immediately after the tweets and added more criticism as his actions became a wedge between two allies.
“You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you can’t pass anything through a congress that you control. I would focus on that,” he posted on Twitter Thursday.