Last year, nearly two million Britons signed a petition requesting that newly elected US president Donald Trump be blocked from making an official state visit to the UK. It looks like it could take far less to prevent him from stepping on British shores.
Trump had apparently planned to visit London to open the new US embassy, which recently relocated from its longtime location in Mayfair to a new building in South London. He claimed on Twitter today to have cancelled the trip because he was upset about the sale of the former embassy building:
There are a number of problems with this statement. First, according to the BBC, Trump’s visit had not been confirmed or the dates nailed down. Secondly, while the new US embassy cost $1 billion (£738m), it was entirely funded by the sale (paywall) of two US-owned properties, including the former embassy—so the former building could hardly have sold for “peanuts.” Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the decision to move the embassy and build a new one (as well as the choice for its new location) was made while George W. Bush was still president, not during Obama’s administration.
There might be other reasons the US president decided to cancel a trip— chief among them, the idea of facing significant protests. Meanwhile, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, appeared rather pleased about the decision. “Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda,” Khan said in a statement following Trump’s tweet. “It seems he’s finally got that message.”
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