Donald Trump canceled a planned state visit to the United Kingdom, where he was expected to commemorate the opening of a new U.S. Embassy, claiming on Twitter that he’s unhappy with the location of the embassy. However, he also fears he won’t be welcome in the country, a fact which may also have played a role in his decision.
As The Evening Standard reported, Trump had been scheduled to make a state visit next month to the USA’s longtime ally, where he was scheduled to open a new, $1 billion U.S. Embassy. However, in a late-night tweet on Thursday, the president said that he’s unhappy with the way the new embassy came about, and he’s not going to have any part of it.
“Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”
However, plans to move the embassy were announced as far back as 2008, before Barack Obama was president.
The previous location of the U.S. Embassy in London, according to CNN, was in a high-rent part of London called Mayfair. The Bush (43) administration unveiled plans to move it to a new location in a more “downmarket” part of the city for a variety of reasons. At the top of the list was difficulties in keeping it secure in an age of terrorist attacks.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 12, 2018
The new building has been intensely controversial from the start. It carries a $1 billion-dollar price tag, it’s in a less-desirable part of London, and its “unique” architecture has drawn criticism.
Besides dissatisfaction with the new Embassy, there may be another reason behind Trump’s decision to scrap his planned U.K. visit: he is unpopular there, and may possibly face mass protests. According to a companion Evening Standard report, London Mayor Sadiq Khan believes that Trump’s cancellation is due in no small part to planned protests.
“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance.”
Trump has drawn the ire of the British public, and more than a handful of British politicians, in part because of a series of Tweets in November in which Trump shared anti-Muslim videos that originated with far-right group Britain First, believed by many to be a hate group. As CNN reported at the time, those videos, which purported to depict Muslims assaulting people and vandalizing a statue of the Virgin Mary, are believed to be fake. However, Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders downplayed the significance of their possibly being fake, stating that the “threat” from radical Islam is real, regardless of the authenticity of the videos.