President Trump announced he was canceling a trip to the UK in a late night tweet that blamed Barack Obama for moving the U.S. embassy in London — a decision made under the Bush administration.
Trump was expected to travel to the UK next month to open a new U.S. embassy in southwest London, as protest groups threatened to stage the “biggest demonstration in British history.”
Trump tweeted, “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!”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to the president when she became the first world leader to visit Trump’s White House last year.
But Trump sparked a strong backlash in November when he retweeted three unverified anti-Muslim videos from the far-right group Britain First.
May publicly rebuked Trump for the tweet and said, “The fact that we work together does not mean that we are afraid to say when we think that the United States have got it wrong and to be very clear with them. I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has feuded with Trump on numerous ocassions, said, “President Trump has used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country. It’s increasingly clear that any official visit from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed.”
It was announced in October 2008 — three months before Obama entered office — that the U.S. embassy would be relocated to Nine Elms in Wandsworth from its original location in Grosvenor Square in Mayfair.
The embassy was vulnerable to terrorist attacks despite a $15million renovation to increase security enhancements.
One planning official bemoaned the move in 2015 and told the New York Times, “It’s like moving from the New York’s Upper East Side to New Jersey.”
But Robert Tuttle, the ambassador appointed by Bush, defended the decision in 2008 by saying it was the result of a “long and careful process.”
Tuttle said, “We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Gorsvenor Square. In the end, we realized that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable Embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility.”
The new building on the south Bank is a veritable fortress set back at least 100 feet from surrounding buildings.The $1 billion construction overlooking the River Thames, was wholly funded by the sale of other properties in London.
With News Wire Services