US President Donald Trump has canceled his February visit to Britain, during which he was expected to attend the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in London.
The previous embassy was "the best located and finest embassy in London," Trump said, adding that new $1 billion embassy in Vauxhall, south London, is built in an "off location."
"Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!" Trump said.
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) 12 января 2018 г.
The ceremony may instead be hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sources in the US government suggested.
Downing Street declined to comment on Trump’s cancelation of the visit to the UK, with a spokesperson repeating the government’s position that "an invitation has been extended and accepted, but no date has been set," according to The Guardian.
Trump accepted the Queen’s invitation for an official state visit to the UK when Prime Minister Theresa May visited him in the White House a year ago. However, no date has been set for the visit amid fears of mass protests against Trump.
A representative of the British prime minister's office told RIA Novosti that the invitation for Trump to visit the country remains in effect. The source said that there was confusion in media reports on the issue and that two different visits to the UK by Trump have been discussed. There is a standing invitation for a state visit from PM May, which was accepted by Washington, and details regarding this visit will be provided at the proper time. As for the second visit, it was an invitation from the US ambassador in London, but Trump has canceled it, the source said.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan commented on Trump cancelling his London trip, saying in a Twitter post that many Londoners "have made it clear" that the US president is "not welcome" in the British capital due to his "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. pic.twitter.com/YD0ZHuWtr3— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) 12 января 2018 г.
A spokesperson for PM May said Friday that US President Trump has accepted the invitation to visit the UK and is welcome in London.
"The invitation has been extended and accepted. The US is one of our oldest and most valued allies and our strong and deep partnership will endure," the spokesperson said, adding that no date has been confirmed for the visit.
Relations between Washington and London soured late last year after Trump's retweets of anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group, which triggered tensions between Washington and London. Disagreements widened in December after the UK criticized Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
An the end of November 2016, a petition to stop Trump’s making an official visit to Britain was launched on the country's Government and Parliament website and by May 2017 had gained over 1.8 million signatures in a backlash to Trump’s controversial ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majorities countries from entering the US.