- REUTERS/Matthew Childs
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said President Donald Trump backed out of a visit to the UK for fear of protest.
- Many thousands of people had signed up to events opposing his presence.
- The London offshoot of the Women’s March had as many as 100,000 attendees.
- Trump reportedly expressed worry about the protests to the UK Government.
- Khan and Trump have a long-running feud.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says the real reason that President Donald Trump won’t make a state visit to the UK is because he understands how much people don’t want him there.
Khan wrote that Trump had “got the message” from Londoners when he canceled a scheduled visit to the British capital next month, where he was supposed to open the new US embassy there, and was cowed by the prospect of mass demonstrations.
In a statement on Twitter, he 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.
“His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests.”
- Getty Images
Politicians and campaigners, including British MP David Lammy and commentator Owen Jones, proposed to organise the “biggest protest in British history” if Trump came.
One Facebook protest event planned for the possible date of Trump’s visit had more than 8,600 planned attendees. The London segment of the anti-Trump Women’s March in the wake of his inauguration was attended by as many as 100,000 people.
Trump was reportedly repelled by the idea of public opposition to his presence in London. In June 2017, the Guardian reported that he told Theresa May over the phone that he wouldn’t come to Britain if there would be protests.
In July, The Sunday Times claimed that officials were planning on keeping any visit a secret until 24 hours before so that protesters wouldn’t be able to organize.
Trump’s decision to abandon a visit altogether represents something of a victory for Khan, who has been feuding publicly with Trump since 2015.
Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital, described Trump as “ignorant” for proposing a Muslim immigration ban after the San Bernardino massacre.
Trump later appeared on British television to challenge Khan to an IQ test, and said he would “remember” the feud if he became president.
Relations reached an especially low ebb the day after the London Bridge terror attack, where Islamist attackers killed eight people, Trump criticised Khan on Twitter, describing his response as “pathetic.”
The response was a sharp departure from the usual tone taken with a stricken ally, and a contrast to the conciliatory tone taken by US Embassy staff in London.