Trump Cancels Trip to London, Citing Displeasure With Embassy Location

Donald Trump with Theresa May at the G20 Summit in Germany last year

Donald Trump with Theresa May at the G20 Summit in Germany last year

The president added that the reason for cancelling the trip was his displeasure at former President Barack Obama having sold the current embassy for "peanuts" and having built a replacement for $1 billion.

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said on Friday that Trump had clearly "got the message" that many Londoners would not welcome his visit.

The White House says that President Donald Trump's tweet canceling a trip to London was in reference to a visit for the opening of the new USA embassy and that efforts to schedule a later state visit continue.

However, the decision to move the embassy from Grosvenor Square in London's Mayfair to a new development at Nine Elms in Battersea was taken under the presidency of George W Bush in 2008 before Obama was elected. Another U.S diplomatic building on London's Grosvenor Square, the Navy Annex, was sold in 2007 for 250 million pounds (almost $500 million at the time).

Calls for British Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel his visit amped up again in late November when Mr Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos shared by a British far-right group. However, the U.S. President claimed that the reason he pulled his visit was his unhappiness with the sale and relocation of the Embassy in London.

Protesters outside the previous embassy with its distinctive eagle
Protesters outside the previous embassy with its distinctive eagle

At the time, US state department officials agreed to sell the Grosvenor Square building, in west London, to a Qatari Real Estate company, highlighting a lack of space and security concerns.

Sources said Mr Trump startled USA lawmakers with his disparaging remarks during a meeting in the Oval Office at which he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal.

He concluded: "Let's hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda". Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump at the White House after he was sworn into office.

The British government has extended Trump an invitation for a state visit. "It seems he's finally got that message", Khan tweeted. "He has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest".

Nearly two million people signed a petition in 2017 calling for the president's invitation to be withdrawn.

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