London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday that President Trump canceled his planned visit to the British capital after he “got the message” from its residents, according to reports.
Trump claimed he had scrapped the trip because he didn’t want to open the new US Embassy in London — blaming former President Barack Obama for relocating the diplomatic headquarters.
But Khan suggested the real reason was because Londoners would deem Trump persona non grata.
“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and action the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance,” Khan said in a statement released on Twitter.
He said Trump’s visit would “without doubt have been met with mass peaceful protests” and that it was a mistake for Prime Minister Theresa May to invite him for a state visit.
A petition to stop Trump — who is deeply unpopular in Britain — from making an official state visit garnered over 1.8 million signatures last year amid a backlash over his controversial travel ban, CNN reported.
On Friday, a UK official said Trump’s invitation still stands.
“The invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Trump ally Nigel Farage, the far-right former leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party, lashed out at Khan and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbin for backing protests that could have deterred Trump from visiting.
“It’s disappointing. He’s been to countries all over the world and yet he’s not been to the one with whom he’s closest. I think it’s disappointing,” Farage told BBC Radio, the Independent reported.
“Maybe just maybe Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.”
On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “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!”
In reality, it was President George W. Bush’s State Department that in 2008 decided to move the embassy for security reasons.