London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested that the U.K. should cancel President Trump’s scheduled state visit because of tweets the president sent out criticizing Khan’s response following the attack in London over the weekend. In the tweets, President Trump first said that Khan was wrong to tell people not to be alarmed and when Khan’s camp claimed the president was taking him out of context – Khan said he meant do not be alarmed by the extra police, not do not be alarmed by terrorism – the president labeled that a “pathetic excuse.”
For her part, British Prime Minister Theresa May has said President Trump was wrong to say what he said but that the state visit would go on as planned. Boris Johnson, a leading conservative voice in Britain and the previous mayor of London, defended Khan, saying the current mayor was correct to have said what he said about people not being alarmed by the extra police.
If I am being fair here, it seems as though the president did take Mayor Khan out of context. That said, instead of just ignoring the tweets or choosing to make a brief statement and then let it go, Khan has decided to make a very public show of the matter.
But this isn’t the first time. Khan has made a show of going after President Trump before, even calling him a “buffoon” and “ignorant.”
So while I understand that what happened to Khan’s city is awful and my heart goes out to him and all of his constituents – in addition to the victims - one wonders if Khan is really that upset by a man whose opinion he holds such low regard for – or if he is using the moment to gain support amongst the electorate of a city that doesn’t like the president very much.
It could even a combination of both.
The truth is, President Trump probably shouldn’t have come out so forcefully but Khan’s request is ridiculous. And quite frankly, if he really is a man who wants peace and is interested in building bridges not walls – as the cliché goes – he should welcome the president’s visit. In fact, he should invite him to sit down and try to hash this out.
The United States and England are each other’s closest allies, and both sides need to listen to each other and get on the same page. Prime Minister May understands this and is doing the right thing. President Trump may have metaphorically fired the first shot but Khan has let some hurtful words obscure what the real goal for everybody should be. He is being thin-skinned and petty, which is exactly what he is accusing the president of doing.
If Khan wants to be a hero to his base and prove some sort of political point, he should carry on doing what he’s doing. Refuse to talk to President Trump and keep pushing for him to be banned from state visits.
But if he is really the leader he claims to be; if he is really a uniter; if he is really somebody for whom the well-being of all id the main objective, he should reconsider his actions and attempt to hash out his differences with the president.
Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157.