During Donald Trump’s first visit to the UK as U.S. president, he complained that massive crowds of protesters and a floating balloon depicting him as a baby with a cell phone made him feel “unwelcome.” An op-ed written by London Mayor Sadiq Khan ahead of Trump’s second visit doesn’t appear to be an attempt to make him feel any more welcome this time.
It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump https://t.co/NUiU05eQk4
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 1, 2019
Khan wrote an op-ed for The Guardian, which will be published in time to hit the Sunday morning newsstands, criticizing the plan to “roll out the red carpet” for Trump. Despite the fact that the U.S. is one of Great Britain’s closest allies, Khan says that Trump has moved his country too far to the extreme right to be seen as anything other than a modern fascist.
‘Praising the “very fine people on both sides” when torch-wielding white supremacists and antisemites marched through the streets clashing with anti-racist campaigners. Threatening to veto a ban on the use of rape as a weapon of war. Setting an immigration policy that forcefully separates young children from their parents at the border. The deliberate use of xenophobia, racism and “otherness” as an electoral tactic. Introducing a travel ban to a number of predominately Muslim countries. Lying deliberately and repeatedly to the public.’
‘No, these are not the actions of European dictators of the 1930s and 40s. Nor the military juntas of the 1970s and 80s. I’m not talking about Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un. These are the actions of the leader of our closest ally, the president of the United States of America. This is a man who tried to exploit Londoners’ fears following a horrific terrorist attack on our city, amplified the tweets of a British far-right racist group, denounced as fake news robust scientific evidence warning of the dangers of climate change, and is now trying to interfere shamelessly in the Conservative party leadership race by backing Boris Johnson because he believes it would enable him to gain an ally in Number 10 for his divisive agenda.’
UK should not be "rolling out the red carpet" for Donald Trump, says London mayor Sadiq Khan https://t.co/uvvTe1gRKB
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 31, 2019
The London mayor and the U.S. president have clashed publicly before. After a terrorist attack in London, Khan did his job of trying to keep citizens calm by assuring them that the situation was under control. Trump contradicted him on Twitter, stirring up xenophobic fears in an effort to inflame British division.
In addition to being a Twitter bully and a fearmonger, Khan said that Trump is using the rhetoric of “facists of the 20th century” and should be treated now no better than any of them should have been treated then.
‘Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than seventy years. Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but are using new sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.’
London mayor Sadiq Khan has granted permission for a Donald Trump baby blimp to fly over the capital during Trump's state visit. https://t.co/jmgirZbsj0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 1, 2019
Although Conservatives in the British government are calling for tolerance and unity during Trump’s visit, Khan called out the hypocrisy of tolerating intolerance and unifying around a divisive leader. It’s an op-ed sure to draw a response from the thin-skinned Trump.
‘That’s why it’s so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president whose divisive behaviour flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom.
‘There are some who argue that we should hold our noses and stomach the spectacle of honouring Trump in this fashion – including many Conservative politicians. They say we need to be realists and stroke his ego to maintain our economic and military relationship with the US. But at what point should we stop appeasing – and implicitly condoning – his far-right policies and views? Where do we draw the line?’
— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelenaLee) June 1, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube