Alwaght- US President Donald Trump has mocked Sunday London Mayor Sadiq Khan's height before leaving Washington for a controversial state visit to the UK.
Speaking with reporters outside the White House, Trump compared Khan to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and said he was not looking forward to meet him during his stay in London.
“I don't think much of him. He's the twin of de Blasio except shorter,” he told DailyMail while addressing the press on the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday.
The American head of state has in the past shown his disregard for Khan by criticizing his work in the aftermath of several terrorist attacks in London, blaming him for a lack of security in the city.
Trump's remarks came after Khan, who has made no secret of his disapproval of Trump, described the American leader as the "fascist of the 20th century" in an explosive article Saturday.
Calling Trump a “global threat,” Khan wrote that it was “un-British” to invite him for a state visit.
He accused Trump of deliberately using xenophobic and racist policies such as his travel ban against several Muslim countries as well as his ongoing immigration crackdown as an “electoral tactic” to win more votes.
Khan went on to call Trump the “figurehead” of the global far-right movement and said it was under his watch that people like Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage could gain influence.
“Rather than bestowing Trump with a grand platform of acceptability to the world, we should be speaking out and saying that this behavior is unacceptable – and that it poses a grave threat to the values and principles we have fought hard to defend – often together – for decades.”
“In years to come, I suspect this state visit will be one we look back on with profound regret and acknowledge that we were on the wrong side of history,” Khan stated.
He called on outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May to “issue a powerful rejection … of Trump and the far-right agenda he embodies.”
Farage, however, took offense at Khan’s remarks and blasted his criticism of the American president.
“I’m sorry, what is wrong with you people? Whether you like him or not, he is the President of the United States of America,” said Farage, who is close friends with Trump and would probably meet him during the trip.
Farage also took a swipe at Khan for demanding a second Brexit referendum three years after the first one that triggered the divorce, saying Trump "at least believes in democracy."
Trump defends comments about UK’s leadership, internal affairs
Trump barked at a reporter who asked him whether it was appropriate for him to comment on British leadership and the country’s internal affairs, referring to the US president's remarks earlier that the UK should just “walk away” from negotiations with the European Union and leave the bloc without an agreement.
“Well, people ask me questions, like you, you're asking me a question,' he barked. 'Don't ask me the question if you don't want me to talk about it.”
Trump has backed Boris Johnson, former London mayor and foreign minister, as his preferred candidate to replace May. Johnson is viewed in most polls as the favorite to take the job.
The comments drew fire from various UK politicians.
Mel Stride, the newly appointed Commons leader, said he was surprised by Trump’s remarks and that the US president would not be picking the next British prime minister.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn basted Trump’s support for Johnson as “an unacceptable interference in our country’s democracy.”
“The next prime minister should be chosen not by the US president, nor by 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative party members, but by the British people in a general election,” he said.
Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Donald Trump backs Boris, they’re cut from the same cloth,” she added.
Swinson noted that “they’re both unqualified to lead, both revel in offending people and both represent the strain of nationalism and populism that we need a liberal movement to stand up to.”
The president, who is expected to land in London amid massive protests, will receive a ceremonial welcome at Buckingham Palace upon arrival from Queen Elizabeth II. The queen is also scheduled to host a private lunch at the palace.
On Monday, the queen gives a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Both Trump and the monarch are expected to make a speech at the event.
Trump holds a meeting and a press conference with May on Tuesday. The meeting is said to be about future trade between the US and a post-Brexit Britain.
Trump will end the trip on Wednesday.
‘Bare minimum’ treatment
Due to widespread protests, Trump will receive what some outlets have called a bare minimum visit.
Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Examiner reported that the American head of state will miss out on “the usual welcome in Horse Guards Parade, the grand parade ground in central London where visiting heads of state are usually invited to inspect the honor guard with the queen before a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.”
The visit and its ceremonies are in many ways similar to former President George W. Bush’s trip to the UK in 2003, which was also met with protests.
The American head of state has not been invited to make a speech at the UK parliament either.