Donald Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for 'peanuts' London embassy deal

Donald Trump

Some U.K. lawmakers had said Trump was not welcome in Britain after he re-tweeted videos from a far-right British group and criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan following a terror attack past year.

Madame Tussauds London spokesperson Claire Treacy said: "Even though the real President Trump has declined a visit to our capital city in February to open the new US Embassy building, we wanted to give Londoners the opportunity to see the next best thing". But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson blamed Khan and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for discouraging the US leader from coming. "And you got the message".

Later, a Number 10 source confirmed that Mr Johnson had been speaking for the Government, telling The Independent: "Boris expresses himself in his own inimitable way - but we agree that any risk to the crucial US-UK relationship is not in our country's best interest".

There is reason to believe that a visit by Trump - whether an official state visit or a lower-key working visit - would be met by a howl of opposition on the streets.

Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration in January a year ago, and they were filmed emerging from the White House holding hands.

Battersea Labour MP Marsha De Cordova said Mr Trump was "scared to come to London because of all the peaceful protests he will face".

The "strong and deep" partnership between Britain and the United States "will endure" despite Trump's cancellation, a spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC.

After it was reported that the president was skipping his planned visit to London because of the protests he would face, Trump offered an alternate - and extremely familiar - explanation: It's President Barack Obama's fault.

In fact, it wasn't President Obama, but President George W. Bush, who made the deal. If you are giving Trump the extreme benefit of the doubt, you could say that the embassy wasn't technically sold at the time; the decision to relocate had simply been made, and it was put up for sale.

US embassy London
ReutersThe new US embassy overlooks the River Thames in Battersea with the decision to move it taken in 2008 due to security reasons

There had always been security concerns about the Grosvenor Square site, dating back to the late 1990s after attacks on US embassies in Africa.

Trump claimed he had scrapped the visit because he didn't want to open the new U.S. embassy in the British capital, but Khan suggested the real reason was because he wouldn't be welcome.

The price tag for the deal was never disclosed and Qatari Diar plans to turn it into a luxury hotel.

A group called "Stop Trump" promised the "biggest demonstration in British history" should Trump visit. "Our new embassy reflects not just America's special history with the United Kingdom but the special future ahead of us as we advance the prosperity and security of both our nations".

Woody Johnson, Trump's appointed US ambassador to Britain, told reporters last month that moving to the new site at Nine Elms reflected "the global outlook of the USA going forward in the 21st century: rather looking out, than looking in".

There had always been security concerns about the Grosvenor Square site, dating back to the late 1990s after attacks on US embassies in Africa.

Some local residents had opposed measures that they felt would detract from one of London's plushest neighbourhoods while others feared not enough was being done to ensure they would not be caught up in any attack.

The new US embassy is a veritable fortress set back at least 100 feet from surrounding buildings such as high-rise residential blocks and incorporating living quarters for US Marines permanently stationed inside.

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