Donald Trump has slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan for doing a “bad job” on terrorism and an even worse job running the capital.
“I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism,” Trump said of Khan in an interview with the Sun newspaper where he also suggested Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans would “kill” the US-UK trade deal.
He added: “I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that being brought in.”
In the interview Trump also hailed “talented” Boris Johnson as a future prime minister despite his resignation as foreign secretary earlier this week.
Trump appeared to hold Khan personally responsible for immigration in Europe, saying: “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”
The US president has had a difficult relationship with Khan which came to a head after the London Bridge attack in June.
Trump tweeted that Khan was wrong to call for calm. The mayor, who this week backed the decision to allow a Trump blimp to fly during the president’s visit, responded by saying the American leader was “ill informed”.
Speaking on Sky News today, Khan said it was for Trump to “explain” why he had “singled me out” when terrorists had struck cities across the world, and why he was also responsible for immigration issues in Europe.
Labour MP David Lammy blasted Trump’s comments about Khan, tweeting: “Trump has access to one of the world’s most sophisticated intelligence services. He knows last summer’s terrorist attacks didn’t result from decisions made at City Hall. Each time he blames @SadiqKhan, he insults every victim & every Londoner #trumpvisituk
“I will call it like it is. The real reason Trump blames my friend @SadiqKhan for the terror attacks last year is simple. He hates that London chose a Muslim mayor. The President is racist. He does not deserve to meet our Queen today #StopTrump.”
Rupa Huq, MP for Central Ealing and Acton said the president’s comments were Islamophobic.
The Labour member said: “A dash of Islamophobia lobbed at Sadiq Khan who he blames for terrorism. Awful stuff.”
In the Sun interview Trump also described former London Mayor Boris Johnson as “a very talented guy” who he had a “lot of respect” for, but made clear he was not trying to set-up a leadership fight between Johnson and May.
“I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes,” Trump said.
Trump, who days earlier said he would like to catch-up with Johnson during his four-day UK visit, added that Johnson “obviously likes me, and says very good things about me”.
“I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country,” Trump said.
In a leaked recording of Johnson last month, the former foreign secretary was “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump” who would negotiate Brexit “bloody hard”.
Trump is due to have a summit meeting with May at lunchtime before meeting the Queen for tea at Windsor Castle. He is then heading to Scotland.
Some 50,000 people are expected to protest Trump’s visit in London today.