Fearing public protests, Trump puts UK visit on hold
Donald Trump also faced a backlash in the UK for appearing to milk the recent terror attack in London for his own political gain. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
US President Donald Trump has told British Prime Minister Theresa May in a phone call that he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain if there were large-scale protests.
According to a report by the Guardian, the call was made in recent weeks and the statement surprised May.
May invited Trump to Britain seven days after he took office.
She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was "delighted that the president has accepted that invitation".
Following the invitation, May faced calls to cancel the visit as opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn warned she will be failing the country if she does not cancel the American President's visit in the wake of his ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US.
Calls to revoke the invitation offered to Trump grew louder recently when the US president berated London mayor Sadiq Khan of downplaying the threat of terror, a day after the London attack in June.
"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" the US president had said in one tweet.
Khan responded by slamming Trump for politicising a terrorist attack -- and not for the first time.
Khan, in an interview with BBC just hours after the attack, had said: "My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this."
Responding Sunday to Trump's criticism, a Khan spokesman issued a pointed statement saying that the mayor -- busy coordinating a response to the attack even while reassuring Londoners and visitors -- had "more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks."
Later Khan told AFP during an interview that the invite was "premature" and that state visits should be accorded to leaders "who have had distinguished service, who have a track record".
"In the circumstances where Donald Trump as president had a Muslim ban, had changed the policies of the USA, the longstanding policies around refugees, in the circumstances where many British people disagree with many of Donald Trump's policies, we shouldn't be having a state visit," he told AFP.
Although May said the invite to Trump was still on, there was a public backlash against Trump for trying to milk a terror attack for his own gains.
(WION with inputs from agencies)