The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused Sadiq Khan of starting a “spat” with Donald Trump, an accusation likely to add fuel to the ongoing tensions between the US president and the London mayor.
As Air Force One landed at Stansted Airport on Monday morning, Trump began his three-day state visit to the UK with an attack on Khan posted on Twitter.
He wrote: ”@sadiqkhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me......”
The day before his arrival, Khan has said it was “un-British to be rolling out the red carpet” for Trump as he is a “figurehead of this global far-right”.
After Hunt met Trump on the tarmac after landing, the foreign secretary said the president had expressed to him his “very strong views” about Khan.
The foreign secretary told Sky News: “The elected mayor of London has made some pretty choice insults about Donald Trump.
“And all I would say is that this spat started because the mayor of London, and other people in the Labour Party, decided to boycott this visit and I think that is totally inappropriate.”
“The president does what the president does but let’s ask why he was so angry when he did that tweet and I think the very simple reason is he’s been shown great discourtesy.”
The tensions between Trump and Khan have been rumbling on more than two years.
In 2016, when Trump was battling Hillary Clinton for presidency, he said he would make an “exception” to his proposed ban on Muslims visiting the US and allow Khan into the country.
Khan, who had just been elected London mayor, said Trump’s “ignorant” views of Islam made “both our countries less safe”. In response, Trump challenged the mayor to an IQ test.
Trump also criticised Khan for his response to the London Bridge terror attack two years ago today in 2017.
Responding to Trump’s tweets this morning, a spokesman for Khan said: “This is much more serious than childish insults which should be beneath the President of the United States.
“Sadiq is representing the progressive values of London and our country, warning that Donald Trump is the most egregious example of a growing far-right threat around the globe, which is putting at risk the basic values that have defined our liberal democracies for more than 70 years.”