Just two days before Donald Trump’s first official state visit to the United Kingdom — a visit in which he is expected to greeted by at least a quarter-million protesters, according to a Newsweek report — the mayor of the U.K.’s capital city of London appeared to brand Trump a “fascist.”
In an op-ed for The Observer published online by The Guardian, London’s 48-year-old Mayor Sadiq Khan compared Trump’s policies and public statement to “European dictators of the 1930s and 40s.” He added that Trump’s public rhetoric reflects the same style used by far-right European political figures, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in Italy, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, and Britain’s Nigel Farage, a leader of the pro-Brexit movement and an associate of Trump’s.
As explained by Khan, Trump is “just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat.” He added that the U.S. president and the other right-wing political figures he named “are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century.”
In an interview published on Sunday, according to the BBC, Trump called on U.K. leaders to include Farage in their long-stalled negotiations over Brexit, the U.K.’s upcoming withdrawal from the European Union.
“Think how well they would do if they did,” Trump said.
Khan wrote that due to what he called Trump’s fascist leanings, “it’s un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week” for the president, whose behavior “flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom.”
But Khan was far from the only U.K. political figure to condemn Trump ahead of his state visit next week. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former cabinet official in Britain’s Conservative (Tory) Party blasted Trump as “narcissistic and egocentric” for comments endorsing former London Mayor Boris Johnson as the next prime minister of the U.K., according to The Independent.
Rifkind, while acknowledging that Trump’s comments are not “illegal” or “unconstitutional,” branded Trump’s public backing of Johnson as “distasteful interference in other people’s business,” saying that to publicly take sides in a U.K. election is “unprecedented for a president of the United States but it’s not unprecedented for Trump.”
Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also ripped Trump for his pro-Johnson remarks, saying that Trump’s “attempt to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister is entirely unacceptable.”
Both Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Party leader Sir Vince Cable have refused invitations to join a state dinner in Trump’s honor, where they would be required to dine with the U.S. president, according to the BBC.