LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan hit back at US President Donald Trump on Monday. He called for cancelling the US president’s state visit to the UK. Trump renewed his criticism earlier on Monday of the London mayor’s handling of the aftermath of Saturday night’s terror attack.
He accused Khan of making a ‘pathetic excuse’ over his statement urging Londoners not to be alarmed by the presence of additional police on the streets in response to the attack.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Khan said Trump had been wrong about ‘many things’. He said the government should cancel his state visit to the UK, which is expected in October.
“I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” he said. “When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”
When Londoners face adversity we pull together. We stand up for our values and our way of life. We stand together. pic.twitter.com/AJJMJjBIDp
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 6, 2017
On Sunday, Trump mocked Khan’s statement asking Londoners not to be alarmed, suggesting in a tweet that the mayor was downplaying the attacks. A spokesperson for Khan responded that the mayor ‘has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context’ his remarks.
Trump continued his attack Monday morning, saying in a tweet: “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!” MSM referred to mainstream media.
Khan has received widespread support in both the UK and US for both his handling of the terror attack and the criticism from Trump.
Tonight we stood together to honour those who lost their lives and send a clear message: Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism. pic.twitter.com/VMURWrH0h5
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 5, 2017
Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, defended the mayor while stopping short of directly criticising Trump.
“I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else – he’s doing a good job,” she told reporters at an election campaign event in London. “We’re working with him, working together and that’s important – central government and the London mayoralty and his officials working together to ensure we are responding to the attack.”
In a statement, the US Conference of Mayors, whose membership includes the more that 1,400 US cities with populations of 30,000 or more, said it ‘stands united’ with Khan.
“He has risen above this crisis of death and destruction, as mayors continue to do, to alleviate fear, to bring comfort to his people of London and to give support to the first responders who continue to protect, defend and provide emergency care to his people of London,” the statement said. “Thank you, Mayor Khan, for your leadership during this crisis.”
Meanwhile, the White House on Monday denied suggestions from US reporters that Trump ‘picked a fight’ with Khan ‘because he was Muslim’. “I think that to suggest something like that is utterly ridiculous,” Sarah Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters.
It is not the first time a member of the Trump family has criticised the Mayor of London for his stance on security and terrorism. Khan gave an interview in September 2016 in which he said terror attacks were ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city.
He was referring to a bombing in New York and stressed the importance of cities being well-prepared for such attacks.
But shortly after the Westminster attack, Donald Trump Junior, the president’s son, posted a link on Twitter to the September 2016 interview with the caption: “You have to be kidding me?!”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also spoke out in support of Khan.
Sadiq Khan has spoken for London and our country in standing up to hate. That is how we stop terrorists winning, not by promoting division. https://t.co/qPtJBaPobI
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 5, 2017
Mayor Sadiq Khan is doing an extraordinary job supporting Londoners in a time of pain. President Trump’s attack on him is unacceptable.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 5, 2017