London Mayor Khan: Put away the red carpet before Trump gets here

Gabby Kaufman
Reporter
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, pauses as he speaks to reporters, June 6, 2017. (Photo: Raphael Satter/AP)

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Monday the United Kingdom shouldn’t “roll out the red carpet” during President Trump’s upcoming state visit, as the war of words between the two leaders keeps escalating.

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News, Khan was asked if he thought Trump’s visit to the U.K., tentatively planned for the fall, should be canceled in the wake of inflammatory comments he has made about immigration and Khan following Saturday’s deadly terrorist attacks. Though he declined to answer directly, Khan nonetheless responded pointedly, drawing a sharp contrast between Trump’s policies and the U.K.’s.

Related slideshow: Mourning the victims of the London attack >>>

“My position remains the same,” Khan began. “I don’t think we should be rolling out the red carpet to the president of the U.S.A. in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for.”

“I think one of the things, when you have a special relationship, is no different to when you’ve got a close mate,” he continued. “You stand with them in times of adversity, but you call them out when they’re wrong. And there are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”


After Khan’s city was attacked Saturday, Trump posted a tweet that misconstrued the London mayor’s appeal for calm as downplaying the seriousness of the terror threat.


In reality, Khan’s remark to the BBC was in reference to the heightened law enforcement presence in London after the attacks. Khan’s spokesman responded with an acerbic, dismissive statement pointing out 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.”

Monday, Trump said drawing attention to the intended context was a “pathetic excuse.”


The London attacks exacerbated the long-standing tension between Khan and Trump. When Khan, a Muslim, won the mayoralty in May 2016, Trump had already proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Khan said he intended to visit the U.S. before the following January, “in case” of a Trump victory in the election. On the other hand, Trump told The New York Times “there will always be exceptions” to the ban and he was “happy” Khan won.

“If he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example,” Trump said. “If he does a good job and, frankly, if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”

Related slideshow: Deadly terror attack in London >>>

Khan rejected a BBC reporter’s suggestion that he could be an “exception” to Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. He added he hoped Hillary Clinton “trounces” Trump in the election, provoking a counterattack by the candidate: “I think they were very rude statements and, frankly, tell him I will remember those statements. They are very nasty statements.”

Still, despite the protracted back-and-forth, Khan hinted on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” Tuesday that an end to the feud may be in sight. “Look, it takes two to tango, and I am not tangoing with this guy.”

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