U.S. President Donald Trump “got the message” on the strength of opposition to his planned visit to Britain, London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday after Trump said he had cancelled the trip.
Khan said: “many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda
“It seems he’s finally got that message.”
He said Trump’s visit “would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests”.
Trump said he had cancelled next month’s visit, which had been set to include the opening of the new US embassy in London, because he did not like the building and thought it was a “bad deal” financially.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” the U.S. president added.
“That is totally plausible Donald… Nothing to do with what would have been the biggest protests since the Iraq War,” anti-hate activist Brendan Cox said in reply to Trump’s tweet.
Labour lawmaker David Lammy, who had vowed to lead a protest against Trump if he visited, said the U.S. president was “too scared of us Londoners, who don’t want him darkening our door.”
The cancellation of the visit was “excellent news,” said Lindsey German, organizer of the Stop the War Coalition, which had planned a large protest against Trump.
Thomas Cole, head of policy for the cross-party, pro-EU group Open Britain, said Trump was “showing early signs of panic here [and is] perhaps less committed to a bilateral [trade] deal with UK than some had thought.”
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who has been mainly supportive of Trump’s presidency, said he was disappointed by the cancellation.
“He’s been to countries all over the world and yet he’s not been to the one with whom he’s closest,” Farage told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
“I think it’s disappointing.”
Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump for a state visit when she met with him at the White House soon after he took office last year.
In a BBC interview on Sunday, May insisted that Trump “will be coming to this country” in spite of the opposition.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told parliament on Tuesday that he expected Queen Elizabeth II to meet Trump during his visit, saying she was “well capable of taking this or any American president in her stride.”
“I think we have to welcome the American President to Britain,” Johnson said. “We have to work with him.”
Nearly two million British people added their names to an online petition in 2017 calling for Trump’s visit to be downgraded from a state visit to avoid embarrassing the queen.