US president Donald Trump said he would not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy next month, blaming the "bad deal" to relocate it. Theresa May was the first world leader to visit Mr Trump in the White House, and the US president accepted at the time an invitation for a state visit.
The visit was due to coincide with the opening of the new US embassy, at Nine Elms on the banks of the Thames in south London. Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy's move from Grosvenor Square was a "bad deal".
Donald J. Trump ? @realDonaldTrump 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!
Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, will represent the US at the embassy opening.
I have never been sure about the relocation of the US Embassy to Wandsworth. On one hand its off the beaten track so making it harder for mob demonstrations to gather. How much am I prejudiced as an east Londoner by a primal dislike of venturing south of the river (here be dragons)? Is the site really more practical financially and for security reasons? It is certainly not easy walking distance to the other major embassies as Grosvenor Square was; indeed the Canadian Embassy was the other side of the square immediately opposite. I always thought that was significant.
Mr Trump had also been scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week
Ed Miliband suggested on Twitter the planned protests also dissuaded the president from coming.
Ed Miliband ? @Ed_Miliband Nope it’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/951679619341737986 …
I have spent six months finding Sadiq Khan's efforts to deter President Trump from visiting my home city very sad. Especially as it wasn't just the wannabe Sultan of Londonistan who was cool to the point of rudeness to the leader of a country that has been a valued ally for over a century. We have had the premier of China more than once, despite their recond on human rights, not to mention Tibet. In 2007 the Queen welcomed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and I had to endure the sight of the green sword and shahida flag fluttering all down the Mall.
There were some of us who were planning to greet President Trump in London in February and counter the nasty mob who were planning rudeness. 26th Feb was pencilled into my diary as soon as I unwrapped it Christmas morning. London is no longer a city of friendly chirpy Cockneys; it isn't really even England at all any more But England still exists outside London and certain other pockets, and there are many of us who would welcome the POTUS, if for no other reason than affection for the millions of Americans he represents.