I don't care if 'Trump baby' blimp offends president, London mayor says

LONDON — The mayor of London defended his decision to allow protesters to fly a giant “Trump baby” blimp over the city during President Donald Trump’s visit, saying disagreement was part of a fundamental freedom.

Sadiq Khan gave permission for the balloon, which was inflated with helium early Friday and will float over the Houses of Parliament during the demonstrations.

"The idea that we would park our rights and privileges and freedoms because it may cause offence to a U.S. president, I think people in London and the U.K. would find objectionable as indeed would Americans,” the mayor said. “We should cherish the fact they’ve got the right to [protest].”

Trump, who was due to meet Queen Elizabeth II later Friday, has feuded with Khan, who is Muslim, over crime and immigration.

“Of course we stand shoulder to shoulder in adversity, and it was really comforting when Americans sent messages of support when we had terrorist attack last year,” Khan said, “but when we think you’re wrong we should say you’re wrong — that’s what a special relationship is all about.”

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Baby Trump blimp flies over London
Demonstrators slowly deflate a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump that had been floating over Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, behind a tourist bus in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, behind a police vehicle in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, next to a Union Flag above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, behind a red tourist bus in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A balloon portraying U.S. President Donald Trump as a baby is attached to a man's rucksack during a protest in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, next to a Union Flag above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Onlookers look at a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Onlookers stand in front of a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators stand in front of a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators stand in front of a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators inflate a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators prepare to inflate a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
The Trump Baby, a six metre high inflatable blimp flying above the Houses of Parliament in Westminster prior to the Together Against Trump national demonstration on 13th July 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Organisations The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up to Trump have come together for a one-off national demonstration to protest against President Trumps policies and politics during his official UK visit. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
The Trump Baby and Winston Churchill statue, a six metre high inflatable blimp flying above the Houses of Parliament in Westminster prior to the Together Against Trump national demonstration on 13th July 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Organisations The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up to Trump have come together for a one-off national demonstration to protest against President Trumps policies and politics during his official UK visit. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Protest singer and the Trump Baby, a six metre high inflatable blimp flying above the Houses of Parliament in Westminster prior to the Together Against Trump national demonstration on 13th July 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Organisations The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up to Trump have come together for a one-off national demonstration to protest against President Trumps policies and politics during his official UK visit. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Protest singer and the Trump Baby, a six metre high inflatable blimp flying above the Houses of Parliament in Westminster prior to the Together Against Trump national demonstration on 13th July 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Organisations The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up to Trump have come together for a one-off national demonstration to protest against President Trumps policies and politics during his official UK visit. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
The Trump Baby, a six metre high inflatable blimp flying above the Houses of Parliament in Westminster prior to the Together Against Trump national demonstration on 13th July 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Organisations The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up to Trump have come together for a one-off national demonstration to protest against President Trumps policies and politics during his official UK visit. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
People inflate a helium filled Donald Trump blimp which they hope to deploy during The President of the United States' upcoming visit, in London, Britain, June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
People inflate a helium filled Donald Trump blimp which they hope to deploy during The President of the United States' upcoming visit, in London, Britain, June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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Trump arrived in Britain Thursday, and was expected to be in London before later moving to his golf resort in Scotland.

Hours after his arrival, he condemned Prime Minister Theresa May in an explosive interview in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun tabloid, in which he slammed her policy on Brexit. But on Friday morning, the president praised May.

He also took aim again at Khan, saying: “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”

Opposition lawmaker Emily Thornberry hit out at Trump’s comments, telling LBC radio: "It's Islamophobia and it is racist. I'm afraid it is absolutely in Donald Trump's playbook. It just shows what a terrible president he is."

Khan, who has no powers over immigration, also questioned the motives behind Trump’s repeated criticism.

“Manchester also suffered a terror attack … Paris Nice, Brussels, Berlin, cities in American have all suffered terror attacks so it’s for President Trump to explain why he singled me as the mayor of London out,” he said. “It is for him to explain why he thinks I’m responsible for immigration into Europe or the U.K. I have no power over these things.”

The latest chapter in the Trump-Khan feud came after a British lawmaker was accused of Islamophobia over a now-deleted tweet he posted about the London mayor.

Michael Fabricant posted a cartoon Khan's head on an inflatable balloon, engaged in a sex act with a pig. Fabricant apologised, saying he "stupidly tweeted it in a meeting without checking it properly.”

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