Trump blames Obama's 'bad deal' for cancelling his trip to Britain: President pulls out of US embassy opening because old site was 'sold for peanuts' - but UK critics tell him 'no-one wants you here'

Daily Mail

British politicians today hit back at Donald Trump for cancelling his visit to London to open the new US embassy, claiming he is 'throwing his toys out of the pram'.
The US President criticised his predecessor Barack Obama for selling the old site on Grosvenor Square in London's exclusive Mayfair district 'for peanuts'.
But UK politicians claimed the trip was actually shelved because 'nobody' wanted him to come and Britain is 'not a big fan of his racist, sexist, unthinking behaviour'.

It has been claimed that the prospect of demonstrations against his appearance could have been a major factor in the US President's decision to cancel the visit.
Mr Trump was expected to make his first trip to the UK since entering office, but Government officials have been told he has gone cold on the idea. The US President tweeted overnight that he thought the US embassy's move from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a 'bad deal'.

He said: 'Reason I cancelled 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 $1.2billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!' But London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Mr Trump had 'got the message' that many Londoners are staunchly opposed to his policies and actions.

Mr Khan, who has clashed with the US President in the past, said a visit by Mr Trump would have been met by 'mass peaceful protests'. Mr Khan said: '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.

'His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests. This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place. 'Let's hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda.' Mr Khan, who has led opposition to the prospect of a visit by the US President, had a row with Mr Trump over the response to the London Bridge terror attack last June.

Brendan Cox, widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, echoed suggestions that concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit's cancellation.
He tweeted: 'That is totally plausible Donald... Nothing to do with what would have been the biggest protests since the Iraq War.' Meanwhile today, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of the US President, suggested that concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit's cancellation.

'It's disappointing - he has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest,' Mr Farage said. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he accused Mr Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of supporting protests. 'Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn't like the look of.'

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was 'very welcome he is not coming any more', adding: 'He runs counter to British values.' Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested that Mr Trump was more aware of opposition in the UK than in other countries he had visited because it was expressed in English.

'I think it's a great shame; the United States is very much one of our closest allies, but the alliance isn't based on who lives in the White House and who lives in Number 10, it's based on shared values, common interests and absolute commitment to the international rules-based system which we have both spent the best part of 70 years upholding through Nato, through the United Nations and through various other treaty organisations around the world,' he told Today.

'While I think it's a shame, I think - if I'm honest - it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, Korean and other languages and we criticise in English, and it's much easier for him to read English.' In reply to Mr Trump's tweet today, former Labour leader Ed Miliband posted: 'Nope, it's because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message.'

And Labour MP David Lammy told Mr Trump: 'You finally got the message that you'd be met by millions of us out on the streets protesting.' Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson said: 'News that Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram and cancelled his trip to the UK will be welcomed by all of us who reject his abhorrent views.

'But it's a disappointing sign of how weak May's leadership is that she wasn't brave enough to call the visit off herself. 'The Prime Minister should be ashamed that she was so keen to roll out the red carpet to a man who spreads hate and division at every turn, and goes out of his way to undermine British values.' Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter: 'Reason Donald Trump cancelled trip to London is that we are not a big fan of his racist, sexist, unthinking behaviour.

'Big protests if he came to cut ribbon. He wanted the red carpet treatment and cheering crowds - NO!' No new date has been offered for Mr Trump's trip to Britain, raising the prospect of a major diplomatic snub. One senior source suggested Mr Trump – who was expected to officially open the new US embassy in London – cancelled because he was unhappy about the arrangements and the scale of the visit.

Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 - when his fellow Republican George W Bush was in the White House. The reversal comes despite Mr Trump telling Prime Minister Theresa May last month that he would come to Britain in the New Year.

Preparations were advanced for a 'working' visit to officially open the embassy, but the Mail understands this role will now be performed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mr Trump was also scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week.

The President was not due to meet the Queen until a full state visit at a later date, and a second source said the lack of 'bells and whistles' and royal involvement next month visit may have discouraged him. Mr Trump has previously expressed concern about the likelihood of mass protests. Last year he told Mrs May he did not want to go ahead with a visit until the British public supported it.

The Prime Minister and the President clashed in November when she criticised his decision to re-tweet anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-Right group, Britain First.
In a rare public rebuke, she said: 'I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.' Mr Trump hit back on Twitter, saying: 'Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.' He added: 'We are doing just fine!'

They clashed again when Mrs May criticised his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling it 'unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region'.
However, following a phone call between the pair on December 19, officials were bullish about the visit taking place. Their conversation was described as 'genial'.
The prospect of mass protests were raised last month after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his followers to turn out in force if Mr Trump visited the UK to send him a 'clear message'.

More than a million people signed a petition last year calling for the state visit to be cancelled. Officials have already moved into the £750million US embassy near Battersea Power Station in South London. The new building will open for business on January 16. In December Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: 'I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.'

He said the new embassy was a 'signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better'. On the embassy web page about the project, it said: 'The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.'

An official opening involving the two leaders would have dispelled any concerns about the 'special relationship' between Britain and the US, and boosted hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal. Last night, Downing Street refused to comment. A spokesman said: 'An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted.' The US embassy said no firm date had been announced and suggested the President was still expected this year.

Last month, the White House said it would announce details 'soon' of Mr Trump's proposed visit to the UK. On Tuesday, the White House confirmed Mr Trump will attend the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos. The event, from January 23 to 26, brings together the world's economic and political elites. Mr Trump has been battling the fallout from a highly critical book. He tried to ban Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, but it soared to the top of the bestseller lists.

The book claimed officials around the President questioned his 'intelligence and fitness for office'. In the Commons this week, Labour frontbencher Liz McInnes urged the Government to withdraw the invitation for a state visit, calling it 'wretched'. She said it should be scrapped to 'save Her Majesty from that unpleasant-sounding ordeal'.

But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: 'I think Her Majesty the Queen is well capable of taking this American President, or indeed any American President, in her stride.' Yesterday alone, Mr Trump made several foreign policy blunders, as the Washington Post reported that he insulted immigrants coming into the US from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.

'Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?' Mr Trump said. He also gave an interview with the Wall Street Journal where he made confusing remarks about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,' Mr Trump said, after months of taunting him with the nickname 'Little Rocket Man.'

The US president has had a number of foreign policy stumbles throughout his first year in office. In May, Mr Trump memorably shoved aside the leader of Montenegro during a Nato summit, pushing his way to the front of a photo-op. He has confused facts, suggesting Korea used to be part of China, when it was not, and has also conflated the identities of Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III.

Members of Mr Trump's White House team have not made things better, misspelling Mrs May's first name three times  – by dropping the 'H' – on the official schedule of her January 2017 visit. This week, the White House erroneously spelled 'Norway' as 'Normay' while the country's prime minister was heading to Washington DC.