No red carpet for Donald Trump, says London Mayor Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his wife Saadiya Khan sit in the Royal box on Centre Court after the men's singles final match on the last day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon. Photograph: (AFP)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has reiterated that US President Donald Trump will not be given an elaborate state visit when he comes to the United Kingdom next year for a state visit.
"State visits are different from a normal visit and at a time when the President of the USA has policies that many in our country disagree with, I am not sure it is appropriate for our government to roll out the red carpet," Khan told CNN in an interview.
Khan's comments come shortly after a leaked conversation, first reported last Sunday, between Trump and British PM Theresa May, where Trump said he would not visit London unless his reception improved.
He said: "I still want to come, but I'm in no rush. So, if you can fix it for me, it would make things a lot easier.
"When I know I'm going to get a better reception, I'll come and not before."
The delay to Trump's visit comes amid concern that there will be mass protests against the President in the British capital. Earlier this year, over 1.8 million people signed a petition seeking to block Trump's UK trip over fears that it would "cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen."
Trump had requested a gold-plated carriage ride with Queen Elizabeth II during his October visit. Obama had declined such a ride, but world leakers like Russia's Vladimir Putin, Mexican President Enrique Nieto and Chinese President Xi Jinping have taken such a ride.
Trump met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit in Hamburg and told reporters he would be visiting London.
May's offer of a state visit was made during her visit to Washington in January, just days after Trump's inauguration. Khan, who is the first Muslim mayor of a western capital city, however, did not rule out a meeting with the US President.
"If someone has views that I think can be changed I am ready to play my role. If you somehow think it is not possible to be a Muslim and a proud westerner I am happy to disabuse you of that idea, whether you are a reporter for CNN or Donald Trump," he said.
Khan and Trump's relationship is known to be a particularly rocky one, following Khan's opposition to Trump's decision to bar from the US people from a list of mainly Muslim countries.
Post the terror attack on London Bridge last month in which eight were killed, Khan's reassurance to Londoners that there was "no reason to be alarmed" by the increased police presence, a sharp response from Trump on Twitter.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" Trump tweeted.
In a sharp rebuttal, Khan said his remarks had been taken out of context as he had been referring to the enhanced police presence.
This only drew out another response from Trump who tweeted: "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement. MSM [mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!"
(With agency inputs)