Trump: No Trip to London Because of Embassy Choice
12 January, 2018, 15:09
The United States announced plans to move from its current embassy building in Mayfair in 2008 and the new building will open on 16 January. "Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!" he tweeted.
The president's comments came after several British outlets reported that he was considering foregoing his trip to the new embassy's opening next month.
Concerned about the welcome he would receive in Britain, Mr Trump is understood to be sending US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instead, according to the Independent.
Opposition to Trump's visit was initially focused on his travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, and most recently his re-tweet of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right organisation, Britain First.
He indulged in one of his favourite pastimes, attacking his predecessor Barack Obama, this time over the embassy's relocation.
Despite the February 26-27 cancellation, Trump is still expected to visit England later this year, with a Downing Street rep saying: "An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted".
President Trump isn't afraid to call a bad deal when he sees one.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has feuded with Trump on numerous ocassions, said, "President Trump has used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists exclusively to sow division and hatred in our country".
In a Twitter message shortly before midnight Thursday, Trump implicitly rejected reports that the trip - never announced but widely assumed to be in February - was being scrapped over concerns that the USA leader would be met with widespread protests.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the cancellation of Trump's trip was "disappointing", adding: "Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party planning mass protests, those optics, he didn't like the look of".
Embassy staff have gradually been transferred to the new building in recent months and it is due to open officially for consular services next week.
It was announced in 2008 that the USA embassy, which was originally located in Grosvenor Square in the Mayfair district, would be relocated to Nine Elms in Wandsworth.
A petition to stop Trump from making an official state visit to Britain garnered over 1.8 million signatures previous year, in a backlash over his controversial travel ban.
"Let's hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda".
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