The US President Donald Trump has canceled his plans to visit the UK in February where he was due to open the new US Embassy in London.
In a tweet this morning the US president says he is not a ‘big fan’ of the new $1bn (£738m, €827) embassy. Naming the ‘bad deal’ as the reason he wouldn’t attend.
However, with large protests planned including by LGBTI campaigners, some people are questioning if that was the real reason for cancelling the trip.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The new embassy is in Battersea, which is just south of the river.
Due to open in mid-January, Trump’s visit had been expected at the end of February.
It’s now thought US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will ‘cut the ribbon’ instead.
If this is ‘off location’, I’ll take it. pic.twitter.com/DMrFKytOrx
— Huw Edwards (@huwbbc) January 12, 2018
Trump says the old site in central London’s Grosvenor Square was sold by the Obama’s administration for ‘peanuts.’ However, the move was actually confirmed in October 2008 while President George W Bush was in the White House.
Though Trump’s official reason is about the embassy, large street protests are thought to have weighed heavy on the US president’s mind.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s response was to say: ‘Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda.’
Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. This reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place. pic.twitter.com/lNaQGx9iBw
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) January 12, 2018
A controversial full state visit has been offered by the UK’s prime minister Theresa May too. Separate to this visit it still has no date set.
LGBTI Campaigners respond with many levels of sass
Reflecting on the news this morning a wave of LGBTI voices took to Twitter to reflect on Trump’s decision.
Columnist and Labour campaigner Owen Jones who was one of the organizers of the Stop Trump Coalition’s planned protests comments on what he thinks the ‘real reason’ Trump cancelled the visit:
HIV Campaigner and Aids Map director Matthew Hodson’s sass was high:
Oh honey. There we were, so close to being buddies. But then you ruined it all by slagging off South London and now I’m really mad. https://t.co/4sAnssOrpq
— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew_Hodson) January 12, 2018
Chemsex campaigner and the openly LGBT army voice James Wharton’s quip felt high on sarcasm:
— James Wharton (@jameswharton) January 12, 2018
Former opposition leader and trans ally Ed Miliband says:
Nope it’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message. https://t.co/9xV7bFZQgL
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) January 12, 2018
MPs in the UK have long called for the offer of a state visit to Trump to be withdrawn.
Most recently following the President’s crackdown on immigration from majority-Muslim countries. However, the promotion of far-right group Britain First on Twitter was particularly sensitive in the country too.