Donald Trump has cancelled his first visit to Britain as President – and he wants you to know why.
The bellicose billionaire scrapped a trip to open the billion-dollar new US Embassy next month. Yet he insisted it wasn’t because he wants to avoid protesters.
Instead he claimed it was all the fault of Barack Obama’s administration for selling the old embassy for peanuts, adding Bad deal!
There’s just one problem with that.
The new embassy was announced and approved under the leadership of George W Bush, who just like Trump, was a Republican.
The US State Department signed a conditional agreement with a construction firm for the site, near Vauxhall in south London, in October 2008 – three months before Barack Obama was sworn in.
At the time Ambassador Robert Tuttle stressed it had already been a long and careful process, and the grand old embassy building in Mayfair would be offered for sale almost immediately.
He added back in 2008 We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Grosvenor 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.
More work did happen under the Obama administration, but it is incorrect to suggest he kick-started the process – he merely carried through a decision that had been taken. Read the full timetable here.
The news of the cancelled visit was revealed by the Daily Mail, and Trump tweeted this morning 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 1.2 billion dollars.
Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!
Other parts of his statement are also misleading.
Bizarrely, the US never actually owned its old embassy. Instead it’s owned by a British company called Grosvenor (Mayfair) Estate – which is ultimately owned by the billionaire 26-year-old Duke of Westminster.
As part of a 999-year lease from 1954, the US rented its embassy off the Duke of Westminster’s empire for one peppercorn.
The US then sold this lease to a firm called QD Europe, based in the conveniently low-tax country of Luxembourg, for £315million in October 2013.
You may still consider this peanuts for one of the most expensive squares in Mayfair. But then-Ambassador Matthew Barzun insisted in 2014 The new building project is being funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other U.S. Government properties in London. This has always been the plan.
Lastly, describing Nine Elms, the site of the new embassy, as an off location could prompt a diplomatic spat with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – who until 2016 was London mayor.
The site is a short walk from Westminster and the headquarters of MI6, is getting a brand new Tube line, and billions of pounds were funneled into redeveloping the area into expensive flats under his watch.
It’s thought the official opening of the top-security new Embassy in Nine Elms will now be hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The State Visit which Theresa May offered Trump in his first month of office is still on offer, but has been delayed and no date is set.
Former Labour leader Miliband wasted no time in cutting Trump down to size, tweeting Nope it’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message.
Labour MP Steve Reed said Plenty of us Londoners delighted that Trump won’t be bringing his toxic racist and misogynistic views here to open the new US embassy.
Labour MP Stephen Doughty, who has called for Trump to delete his Twitter account, tweeted in the style of the US President Reason @realDonaldTrump canceled 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!
Another Labour MP, David Lammy, tweeted He’s too scared of us Londoners who don’t want him darkening our door.
News Source MirrorNews