London Mayor Sadiq Khan was among those who swiftly set the record straight Friday after President Donald Trump tweeted that he had decided to cancel his planned February trip to the United Kingdom because he disapproved of his predecessor's decision to move the U.S. embassy.
"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," said Khan in response to the president's late-night tweet:
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Trump had originally planned to make a formal state visit to the U.K., but Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to scale back the event to a "working visit" after more than 1.8 million Brits signed a petition opposing the trip "because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen."
Still, anti-Trump groups planned mass protests should Trump set foot in the country.
"The British government know that the protests against a Trump visit could be the biggest we've ever seen in the country," said a spokesperson for the British resistance group Stop Trump, shortly after the president infuriated the country by retweeting several anti-Muslim videos shared by a British far-right extremist. "Upwards of a million people could take to the streets. We could mobilize hundreds of thousands at a day's notice."
In addition, Trump's remarks on the U.S. embassy were demonstrably false. The decision to move the embassy to the so-called "off location" of the Nine Elms district—in fact home to some of London's most expensive properties—was made by the George W. Bush administration, not Barack Obama.
On social media, journalists and Trump critics pointed out the obvious flaws in Trump's explanation and surmised the true reason for the president's canceled visit.
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The problem with this explanation is that it's factually inaccurate. The selection and purchase of the Nine Elms site pre-dates Obama. It was announced by GW Bush's Ambassador Robert Tuttle in October 2008 - https://t.co/NkG6BYQ94A https://t.co/3lPQ2gbzI4— Tom Rayner (@RaynerSkyNews) January 12, 2018
"You can't fire me, I quit!" https://t.co/WBtYfN5Y4d— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) January 12, 2018
Trump is up at midnight trying to convince us that he's not hiding from London due to so many just waiting to protest him being there. https://t.co/J0TbNVjRO4— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) January 12, 2018
Real reason for cancellation: Trump would have been first US President to get more protesters in London than attendees at his inauguration.— Tom Fletcher (@TFletcher) January 12, 2018