President Donald Trump was expected to visit London in February — and now that his trip has been put on hold, many are at odds as to why.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a statement claiming that the threat of possible protests had been enough to scare the president away:
Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. pic.twitter.com/YD0ZHuWtr3
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) January 12, 2018
But President Trump had gone public with his plans to cancel the trip the night before — and he cited an entirely different reason:
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
President Trump did make one mistake, however — it was not the Obama administration that approved the embassy's change of location:
The decision was made by Republican President Bush and Ambassador Robert Tuttle in 2008, not President Obama.
— James Costos (@JamesCostos) January 12, 2018
The decision to move the embassy from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms was made in 2008 under George W. Bush, not Obama. It would have been impossible to retrofit the aging concrete building with the security measures needed, officials said at the time.
“We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Grosvenor Square,” then-Ambassador Robert Tuttle said.
“In the end, we realized that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility.”
While this particular visit — likely to be more of a working trip — has been canceled, U.K. officials confirmed to CNN that President Trump is still on the books for an official state visit:
A UK official said on Friday the invitation to Trump for a state visit, first extended by British Prime Minister Theresa May during her visit to the US early in Trump's presidency, still stands: “The invitation for a State Visit has been extended and accepted,” the official said.
Any presidential visit from Trump is likely to spark protests, especially in London. Tensions are high due to the president's vocal support of Brexit and his controversial retweet of alleged “hate group” Britain First.
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