It was just over a week ago that the WSJ reported that upon Trump’s return from his first international trip, White House lawyers may force the president to finally put away his cell phone, and revoke his twitter privileges. In retrospect, this appears to have been “fake news”, because since returning Trump has continued his daily tweetstorm barrage, only this time instead of dealing with domestic issues, Trump has lashed out at foreign targets and this time he risks provoking a diplomatic row with the UK and, according to Bloomberg, embarrassing Theresa May ahead of a general election, as he continued his mockery of London Mayor Sadiq Khan over a terrorist attack that killed seven people.
The first time the president went after Khan, one of Britain’s most prominent Muslims, was on Sunday following the mayor’s statement that people had “no reason to be alarmed.” In an interview with the BBC, Khan said that the “threat level remains at severe” but that there is “no need to be alarmed” at the heavier-than-usual police presence in the streets. British police have been conducting raids throughout the city and have made dozens of arrests. Instead, Trump accused Khan of saying there was “no need to be alarmed” by the terrorist attacks.
Trump refused to back down under criticism, accusing the mainstream media of downplaying the terror attack and covering for the London mayor. On Monday, Trump again lashed out at the mayor, slamming Khan: “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” the president tweeted. Mainstream media — or MSM — “is working hard to sell it!”
Perhaps anticipating what was coming, earlier on Monday, even before Trump’s latest outburst, May was pushed hard before saying he was “wrong” to attack Khan. Having deftly avoided several attempts by reporters to get her to condemn the U.S. president, May was asked what it would take for her to criticize Trump.
Instead May reiterated her disappointment over his decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. After some further heckling, she went further. “Sadiq Khan is doing a good job,” she told a news conference in central London. “It’s wrong to say anything else.” As Bloomberg notes, May’s concession on Monday that she was “not afraid to say when President Trump gets things wrong” follows her openly complaining last month about U.S. security agencies leaking details of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, which British police said hurt their investigation.
Trump’s ongoing attacks at the London mayor drew outrage from UK politicians: Following his comments about the London Bridge attack, Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said Trump’s invitation to visit the UK should be withdrawn. As a reminder, Trump is due to make a state visit to London later this year as Britain tries to persuade him to sign a post-Brexit trade deal.
“Trump is an embarrassment to America,” Farron said in an emailed statement. “Theresa May absolutely must withdraw the state visit. This is a man insulting our national values at a time of introspection and mourning. We need a special relationship, not a supine relationship.”
Along the same lines, last week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the prime minister’s position as “subservience” to the president. In a speech on Monday, he asked: “Do we want a country that will say to Donald Trump, ‘You are wrong’?”
In response to Trump’s latest tweet, a spokeswoman for Sadiq Khan on the latest Trump tweet: said “the Mayor is focused on dealing with Saturday’s horrific and cowardly attack.” This followed an previous reaction by the London mayor in which Khan said that he has “better and more important things to focus on than Trump’s tweets.