London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump, on Sunday (2) branded the US president as one of the “fascists of the 20th century” and said Britain should not be rolling out a red carpet to a leader like him for a state visit to the UK.
Trump, along with his wife Melania and his adult children, will be a guest of Queen Elizabeth during his three-day official visit to the UK starting Monday. The visit is expected to provoke massive protests in London on Tuesday.
“President Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years,” Khan wrote in the Observer.
“Viktor Orban in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but with new sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” he says.
When asked whether the president should have been invited to London, he replied: “Not on a state visit, no.”
Khan likened the US to a best friend who needed to be “called out”.
He said: “I think it’s important for us to have good relations with our closest ally, and important for our allies to be here for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings; we’ve got to have good relations with the US – but I don’t think we should be rolling out the red carpet.
“Our closest ally is akin to a best friend – and the thing about a best friend is that you stand shoulder to shoulder with them in times of adversity, but you’ve got to call them out when you think they’re wrong.”
In an interview with the Sun on Saturday, Trump defied diplomatic convention — which dictates that leaders do not weigh in to the domestic politics of other nations, particularly ahead of visits — by backing Boris Johnson to succeed Theresa May as prime minister.
In the same interview, he described Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, as “nasty”. The American-born former actress has previously referred to Trump as a divisive figure in 2016, threatening to move to Canada if Trump won the presidency.
Markle, who is still on maternity leave after giving birth to her and Prince Harry’s first child Archie, will not be joining the rest of the royal family during a series of events planned during Trump’s state visit.
Over the three days, the US president will be hosted by British royalty and politicians. He will also take part in commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.