LONDON – President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to London to open the new $1 billion AMERICAN Embassy in the British capital, a move that avoided protests promised by political opponents.
Some uk lawmakers had said that Trump was not welcome in Britain after he re-tweeted videos of an extreme right-wing British group and criticism from London Mayor Sadiq Khan after a terrorist attack last year.
But Trump said his decision in a late-night tweet, was the result of concerns about the embassy to move the elite Mayfair district, in a much less fashionable area of London, south of the River Thames.
“The reason that I cancelled my trip to London is that I’m not a big fan of the Obama Administration have sold, perhaps the best situated and best Dutch embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ just to create a new one in a location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Trump tweeted.
The State Department, however, has announced plans for the move of the embassy in London in 2008, while George W. Bush was still president, as a result of security concerns after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At the time, the AMERICAN Ambassador Robert Tuttle said the decision to move to the five-acre site, which came after a “long and meticulous process.”
While the former embassy was on Grosvenor Square, in a tony area of designer boutiques and expensive restaurants, the new building is in a former industrial area south of the river Thames, that has been converted into a new commercial and residential district.
The current ambassador, Robert “Woody” Johnson, said the change was necessary, although the U.S. had been linked to Grosvenor Square for more than 200 years.
“Concerns about security after 11 September meant that we had to move to a location that could better protect American citizens and our British neighbors,” he wrote in an article for the London newspaper Evening Standard.
Johnson, a Trump card named, also said that the new embassy was fully paid for by the sale of other London properties, and “not cost the AMERICAN taxpayer a cent.”
An Asset visit has been on the cards since the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to the United States a few days after the Trump card of the inauguration of last year. May proclaimed the power 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.
But a full-blown state visit with golden carriages and pageantry is deferred to the middle of the threat of a major anti-Trump protest. The idea has gradually evolved to a working visit in which Trump would be the London embassy. In December, Johnson said he looked forward to welcoming the president.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s response was only an embassy-related visits. She suggested a formal visit can still, but offered no details.
“We are still working with our U. K. allies to find a date for a visit for the invitation that is offered and accepted,” she said Friday.
In the meantime, the relationship between May and Trump has come under pressure. The riots came after Trump re-tweeted three anti-Islamic videos posted by a leader of the far-right group Britain First – a small group of people who regularly posts inflammatory videos.
The spokesman said that the president was wrong to retweet the group content to ask Trump to tell in a tweet that they should focus on “the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism, which takes place in the United Kingdom”, in place of him.
The exchange prompted further calls to dump the visit.
The mayor of London – who has been criticized by Trump, in tweets, said Trump seemed to have “got the message of the many Londoners who love and admire America and the Americans, but his policies and actions may be the opposite of our city the values of integration, diversity and tolerance.”
“His visit … would without doubt have been met by mass protests,” Khan said.
The British government said that the opening of the embassy was a matter for the United States. But Minister of Foreign affairs, Boris Johnson blamed Khan and the labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for the discourage of the AMERICAN leader to come out.
“The U.S. is the largest investor in the uk, but Khan & Corbyn seem determined to make this crucial relationship is in danger,” Johnson said in a tweet. “We will not allow the US-UK relations are threatened by a number of inflated pompous popinjay in the city Hall.”
Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this story.