London Mayor Sadiq Khan has lashed out at Donald Trump after the presumptive GOP nominee suggested Khan could be an “exception” to a proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Khan had previously expressed an interest in visiting America in order to swap policy ideas with officials like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio – but pointed out he would need to do so before January, 2017, in case Trump ultimately wins November’s general election.
“If Donald Trump becomes the president I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors and swap ideas,” Khan said in an interview with Time last week.
Yet following Khan’s landmark election victory, Trump turned heads Monday by telling the New York Times he was “happy” to see that London had finally elected its first Muslim mayor.
When asked how his repeated calls for a “shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. could negatively impact Khan, Trump even suggested he would be willing to make an exception for London’s new mayor.
“There will always be exceptions,” he said. “I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”
Foreign diplomats like Khan won’t be the only exceptions to Trump’s proposed travel ban. In December, the outspoken Republican told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he would also allow followers of Islam to enter the country for “sporting events.”
But on Monday, Khan hit back at Trump’s supposed olive branch by calling the presumptive presidential nominee “ignorant.”
“This isn’t just about me – it’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world,” Khan said in a statement. “Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe – it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists.”
Khan went on to add that his historic election proved that Trump was completely wrong in his assumption that western values and Islam were incompatible.
“Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam,” Khan said. “London has proved him wrong.”
The son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver and a seamstress, Khan is the first Muslim mayor to have ever been elected in a European Union capital city – and the 1.3 million votes cast for him last week have earned Khan the biggest personal mandate of any British politician in history.
On Monday, the White House called Khan’s election “an historic development for an historic city.”
“Obviously the political debate inside of the UK and in London is obviously charged with a lot of different issues,” President Obama’s press secretary Josh Earnest said. “This outcome reflects the will of the people of London and I certainly wouldn’t second guess them from here. There is no denying the historical significance of Mr. Khan’s election.”
Democratic Party front-runner Hillary Clinton also extended her congratulations to Khan via social media, calling him a “champion of workers’ rights.”
Son of a Pakistani bus driver, champion of workers' rights and human rights, and now Mayor of London. Congrats, @SadiqKhan. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 7, 2016
This isn’t the first time Khan has clashed with Donald Trump and his political views.
On Sunday, Khan likened the Trump campaign’s anti-Muslim rhetoric to that of his mayoral opponent, Zac Goldsmith, in last week’s election.
“They used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other,” Khan told The Observer. “Something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook.”
Khan celebrated his first official day as London’s mayor on Monday by checking in with key personnel.
[Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images]