In less than 48 hours since the London terror attack, US president Donald Trump once again launched an attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter accusing him of offering a "pathetic excuse" for comments that Trump earlier misconstrued about policing in response to Saturday's attack, which left seven people dead.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Khan had told Londoners there was "no reason to be alarmed" about an increased police presence in the coming days. Top British officials, including British prime minister Theresa May came to Khan's defense following Trump's comments.
"I think Khan is doing a good job and it's wrong to say anything else — he's doing a good job," May said during a press conference on Monday. A spokesperson for Khan responded to Trump's tweets on Monday, saying, "Nothing has changed since yesterday." "The mayor is focused on dealing with Saturday's horrific and cowardly attack and working with the police, the emergency services and the government to keep London safe," he said. Following Trump's tweets, Khan's office pointed out Trump's obvious misinterpretation of the mayor's quotes and urged the British government to cancel the US president's planned visit, according to The Guardian. “I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the President of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” Khan was quoted as saying. According to Independent, Khan also said that Trump is trying to "divide communities." The report further added that the United States Conference of Mayors also issued a statement in solidarity with the London mayor. “The United States Conference of Mayors stands today united with Mayor Sadiq Khan of London and the people of London. We send condolences to family and loved ones of those dead and injured,” said the group, added the report. Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday that Trump was not "picking a fight with the mayor of London at all." She also pushed back against criticism that the president had mischaracterised Khan's remarks, saying "the media wants to spin it that way." Asked if Trump was criticising the mayor of London because he is Muslim, Sanders said that was "utterly ridiculous." The war of words was the latest episode in a long simmering conflict between Trump and Khan, a Muslim who was elected as London's mayor in May 2016. After his election last year, Khan tweeted criticism of then-candidate Trump's rhetoric, saying his "ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe. It risks alienating mainstream Muslims." Trump later challenged Khan to an IQ test during an interview on ITV. The Atlantic, in its report, traces back the feud between Trump and Khan back to his campaigning days as the presidential candidate. The report stated that following the terror attacks in Paris and California's San Bernardino, Trump had called for a total ban on Muslims entering the US. After Khan became the mayor of London in 2016, in a scathing piece in The Observer, Khan accused the then prime minister of Britain David Cameron and Zac Goldsmith, Khan’s Conservative rival for using " fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other – something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook." Khan, in an interview with the Time magazine, even said that if Trump becomes the president, he will be stopped from entering the US to which Trump told The New York Times that there will be exceptions to his travel ban. Khan, who is the son of a Pakistani immigrant, openly endorsed Hillary Clinton as the presidential candidate and told the BBC that Trump was "ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe." In March this year, Trump's son Donald Trump Junior joined the fight when he tweeted this:
As per The Atlantic, Trump Jr's twitter outburst was in response to Khan's statement that terror attacks are "part and parcel of living in a big city” and that "major cities around the world “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things” to happen when people least expect them."
State heads are not known to engage with local leaders but when it comes to Trump nothing is conventional. Though Trump has been panned for his criticism of Khan, following the London terror attack, the fight between Trump and Khan is probably far from over.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 19:14:01 IST