Britain blames threat of protests as Trump cancels London trip

Britain blames threat of protests as Trump cancels London trip

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.

Some U.K. lawmakers had said Trump was not welcome in Britain after he re-tweeted videos from a far-right British group and criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan following a terror attack past year.

The embassy move from central London to a regenerated area on the south bank of the River Thames is in fact the result of a decade-long project initiated by the administration of former Republican president George W. Bush.

On Thursday, the President tweeted that he did not want to "cut [the] ribbon" at the new 12-story, 518,000-square foot US embassy in the southwest London neighborhood of Nine Elms.

The embassy's new cube-shaped building is designed by American architect KieranTimberlake and will be open for business on Tuesday. Last month, Ambassador Woody Johnson, who was appointed by Trump, called it a "bargain".

"Security concerns after September 11 meant we had to move to a location that could better protect American citizens and our British neighbors", he wrote in an article for London's Evening Standard newspaper.

While the embassy statement emphasized that the USA was able to erect a new building project through a property swap, without using taxpayer funds, Trump might have a point on the economics of selling the old embassy in London's tony Mayfair district. A United Kingdom official said on Friday the invitation to Trump for a state visit, first extended by British Prime Minister Theresa May during her visit to the USA early in Trump's presidency, still stands: "The invitation for a State Visit has been extended and accepted", the official said.

Rowling thinks there's another reason that Trump opted out of the state visit, though.

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The president, however, had become fed up with all the criticism and considered it an affront not only to his administration, but to his country, a White House official said on Friday.

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump's comment was exclusively about an embassy-related visit.

A Downing Street spokesman said there had never been a confirmation that Trump would open the embassy: "As we've said a number of times, a state visit invitation has been extended and accepted, and we will confirm the details in due course".

Relations between the United States and its closest ally have been tested repeatedly since Trump took office nearly a year ago. The uproar came after Trump re-tweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by a leader of the far-right group Britain First - a tiny group that regularly posts inflammatory videos.

Londoners "have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here", Khan said.

He noted how Mr Trump would have been met by "mass peaceful protests".

Still, British officials said their government had been working on the basis that Trump would arrive in late February, though no firm date had been set.

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