When – and if – President Donald Trump‘s state visit to the U.K. happens, don’t expect much fanfare from London Mayor Sadiq Kahn.
Kahn, who has gone head-to-head with the president before, told CNN in a new interview, “State visits are different from a normal visit, and at a time when the President of the U.S.A. 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.”
In January, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May conveyed to Trump an invitation from Queen Elizabeth to visit Britain, which he accepted.
Shortly after, however, an online petition calling a potential Trump visit an “embarrassment” to the host nation garnered more than 1.8 million signatures. Last month, the Queen didn’t mention Trump’s planned trip to the U.K. during her speech at the opening of Parliament.
At the time, Trump administration and Downing Street officials respectively denied that the trip had been canceled, saying instead that an exact date had just not yet been scheduled.
Last week, however, the White House confirmed that Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom had been delayed until 2018. They gave no reason for the postponement.
A source recently told U.K. outlet The Sun that Trump was concerned about the reception he’d receive, and allegedly asked Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure her countrymen and women were cordial.
President Trump and Khan have clashed in recent months, with the president lashing out at Khan just hours after the London Bridge terror attack in June: “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump tweeted at the time.
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He added, “At least seven dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed’ !”
Trump was responding to an interview Khan did with the BBC regarding the police action being taken after the attack, during which he said, “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.”
In response, Khan’s aide said in a statement that the mayor had “more important things to do” than comment on Trump’s tweets. Trump, however, doubled down on his insult, writing on social media, “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement.”
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Further speaking about Trump to CNN this week, Khan also said, “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.”
The Queen traditionally issues an invite for a state visit to the sitting U.S. president once during their four or eight-year term. She has met with every American president since she assumed the throne in 1952 — except for Lyndon B. Johnson.
While presidents sometimes make multiple visits to the U.K. for official state business, a state visit hosted by the Queen usually includes a stay at Windsor Castle and a dinner attended by members of the royal family.
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