Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

No trip to London since embassy site is a 'bad deal'

No trip to London since embassy site is a 'bad deal'

"Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda", London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has often exchanged barbs with Trump on social media, tweeted.

He blamed Barack Obama's administration for a "bad deal" despite the fact the move was agreed under George W Bush.

"Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for "peanuts", only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars", the President said.

Mr Trump also criticised the location of the new building in Vauxhall, south London, as an "off location", adding: "Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!"

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Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump for a state visit to Britain one year ago, with the date yet to be set amid hostilities to Trump in Britain.

In an article in London's Evening Standard newspaper on Friday, U.S. ambassador Woody Johnson said Washington was "re-investing in the special relationship".

May proclaimed the strength of the "most special relationship" between the two countries and the government extended an invitation for a state visit as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II.

"The project has been executed within the established budget", an embassy spokesman said, adding it had "considered more than 50 sites" in London ahead of the move, which cost up to $1billion and "used no tax dollars". The idea had gradually evolved into a working visit in which Trump would open the London embassy. She suggested a formal visit could still, but offered no details.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not reply to a request for comment. SOT: JEREMY SHAPIRO, RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS (ENGLISH): Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations cautioned against trying to make sense of Trump's decision to postpone his trip. She later said Trump took her hand in a gentlemanly gesture as they walked down a ramp.

In addition, Ms May and Mr Trump fell out spectacularly in November over his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted online by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group, Jayda Fransen. That message was echoed by David Lammy, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party, who believed Trump was shaken by the prospect of being "met by millions of us out on the streets protesting".

Downing Street was unable to say whether Mr Johnson was speaking for the Government, stressing how it was "not aware of the circumstances of the tweet".

He warned that criticism of the White House risked harming US-UK relations. "The US is the biggest single investor in the United Kingdom - yet [London Mayor Sadiq] Khan & [Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk".

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