Boris Johnson calls London mayor 'puffed-up popinjay' after cancelled Trump visit

Boris Johnson calls London mayor 'puffed-up popinjay' after cancelled Trump visit
From CBC - January 12, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled a trip to London scheduled for next month to open a new embassy, saying he did not want to endorse what he understood was an Obama-era decision to move out of the old one.

The cancellation is a further blow to relations between the allies. More than a year into his presidency, Trump has yet to visit London, with many Britons vowing to protest against a man they see as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on a range of issues.

"[The] 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," Trump said in a tweet late on Thursday.

"Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!" Trump said.

While Trump cast it as solely his decision, his reception figured to be controversial after he retweeted videos from a far-right British group, and criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan following a terror attack last year.

Khan's predecessor as mayor, current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, criticized both him and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn for discouraging the U.S. leader from coming to London.

"The US is the biggest single investor in the UKyet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk," Johnson said in a tweet. "We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall."

Khan was unmoved by the development.

"Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda," the mayor said in a statement, about two hours before Johnson's tweet. "It seems he's finally got the message."

The decision to acquire a new London embassy site on the south bank of the Thames was announced in 2008 under George W. Bush along with the plans to put the old Grosvenor Square site in upscale Mayfair up for sale.

A pillar of Britain's foreign policy since World War Two, the so-called "special relationship" with Washington has taken on added importance as Britain prepares to leave the European Union in 2019 and seeks new major trade deals.

Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration in January last year, and they were filmed emerging from the White House holding hands. She later said Trump took her hand in a gentlemanly gesture as they walked down a ramp.

Security concerns about embassy site


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