Trump Cancels Britain Trip, Blames Obama
U.S. President Donald Trump canceled 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. bit.ly/2D48GB2
“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Trump said.
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.
But British officials have been dismayed by some of Trump’s pronouncements, particularly a proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States and most recently when Trump rebuked May on Twitter after she criticized him for retweeting British far-right anti-Islam videos.
During May’s U.S. trip a year ago, she extended an invitation to Trump to make a formal state visit – which includes pomp, pageantry and a banquet with Queen Elizabeth.
May’s spokesman told reporters Trump was welcome in London and that the invitation to visit had been accepted, although no date agreed. He said the opening of the embassy was a matter for the U.S. government.
“The U.S. is one of our oldest and most valued allies and our strong and deep partnership will endure,” the spokesman said.