Sadiq Khan wants a showdown meeting with Donald Trump to hear why the President singles him out for criticism over tackling terrorism.
Speaking to HuffPost UK from City Hall, Khan said he wanted to “hear him out” after Trump launched another attack on the London Mayor as he visits the UK.
In an interview with The Sun, carried out on Wednesday but published today, Trump claimed Khan “has done a very bad job on terrorism”, his latest attack on the Labour politician.
Khan said he is “trying to rise above” the jibe, but when asked if the door of City Hall would be open to Trump if he wanted a face-to-face meeting, the Mayor said: “I’m happy to meet President Trump and to explain to him, in a respectful, courteous manner where I think he’s wrong on a number of issues, to hear him out, see what his explanation is for holding me responsible for the attacks we saw in London last year.”
Khan said that while 14 people died during terrorist attacks in London last year, cities across the world – including Nice, Manchester, Paris and Berlin – were also targeted.
“This is an evil we’re all grappling with, and it’s for President Trump to explain why he’s singled me out and not mayors of other cities, leaders of other cities, but also, you know, why he thinks immigration from Europe is the reason for the increase in crime across our country over the last four years - and over the course of a meeting, should it ever occur, of course I’d be looking forward to his explanation of those things.”
Trump’s latest attack on Khan came during his explosive interview with The Sun, in which he claimed a UK/US trade deal would be killed by May’s Brexit plan.
It’s for President Trump to explain why he’s singled me out and not mayors of other cities Sadiq Khan
When asked about Khan, Trump hit out at how the London Mayor has treated him, including by supporting the flying by protestors of a giant balloon depicting the US President as a baby
Trump said: “I think he has not been hospitable to a government that is very important. Now he might not like the current President, but I represent the United States.
“I also represent a lot of people in Europe because a lot of people from Europe are in the United States.”
He went on: “You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.
“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.
“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 is being brought in.”
When asked about the comments, Khan said: “Firstly it’s not for me to respond to every tweet or interview President Trump gives about me.
“I’m trying to rise above this, but secondly I’ve said I would warmly welcome President Trump seeing some of the joys of London, seeing the benefits of diversity, seeing the examples of Londoners who are proud Londoners, but also maybe of Islamic faith, of Asian origin, maybe LGTB+, and for him to realise that diversity is something to cherish, not to be scared of.
“I’m looking forward to today and tomorrow to there being protests that are peaceful and are good spirited.
“Today, of course, protests against President Trump, against some of his policies, some of the things he’s said and stands for.
“Tomorrow there’ll be protests in London from extreme far right groups, including pro-Trump supporters, the key thing is for those to be peaceful, and I hope, good spirited.”
Trump and Khan have in the past clashed over the US President’s travel ban against predominantly-Muslim countries, and their feud flared up again in the wake of the Westminster terror attack in March 2017.
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”
In the following weeks, Khan responded:
Then came the London Bridge attack, when Islamist terrorists killed eight people and injured dozens more.
Trump responded by lashing out the mayor for trying to be “politically correct” rather than taking firm action.
Tensions flared again between Trump and many high-profile UK politicians, when Trump shared three anti-Muslim videos from extremist group Britain First.
Khan responded on Twitter: