Trump's lower-key visit to Britain 'on hold'

Frederick Owens
January 12, 2018

The State Department announced it was taking the first steps toward embassy relocation in 2008, when George W. Bush was president.

Trump was scheduled to visit London on an official state trip next month, when he was expected to formally open a new $1 billion USA embassy complex in Nine Elms, southwest London.

Trump had been expected to combine a ceremonial opening for the new building - a distinctive glassy cube - with an official visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Theresa May.

The new U.S. Embassy in London will open Tuesday, and, at a cost of about $1 billion, it is the most expensive structure of its kind ever built.

May's government has been keen to strike up a close working relationship with the Trump administration despite his erratic behaviour, because of Britain's desire to strike a swift trade deal with the world's largest economy.

But on Thursday, reports began circulating that the visit had been canceled due to protest fears.

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Taking to his favourite social media forum of Twitter, where he often leaves hints of his thoughts on policy matters, Trump scorned his predecessor for selling the old USA diplomatic location for "peanuts" and settling for a replacement in an "off location".

The prime minister extended the offer of a state visit to Trump when she became the first world leader to meet him in the White House following his inauguration past year.

This development is particularly shocking because Obama hadn't been elected when the decision was made to move the embassy from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms.

Downing Street declined to comment on Trump's cancelation of the visit to the United Kingdom, with a spokesperson repeating the government's position that "an invitation has been extended and accepted, but no date has been set", according to The Guardian.

British members of Parliament had called on May to rescind the invitation to Trump over the video incident and earlier actions, including his attempt to temporarily block immigration from several Muslim-majority nations.

Khan, who is Muslim, called Britain First, the far-right party Trump retweeted, "a vile, extremist group that exists exclusively to sow division and hatred in our country". "Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda".

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