London Mayor Sadiq Khan has “refus[ed] to apologise” for his attacks on Donald J. Trump, doubling down and accusing the U.S. president of “amplifying” racism and fascism.
Mr. Khan flew to the U.S. to campaign against Mr. Trump during the U.S. Presidential campaign, has repeatedly said he is “not welcome” in London, encouraged street protests against him, and even compared Mr. Trump to Islamic State terrorists.
He was questioned on the issue by UKIP London Assembly Member (AM) David Kurten, who said Mr. Khan risked “damaging” UK relations with the U.S. and offending the millions of Americans who voted for Mr. Trump.
“I don’t apologise for calling out a president who ‘retweets’ what the leaders of Britain First are doing, thereby amplifying racist tweets from a racist organisation,” replied Mr. Khan.
The mayor was referring to Mr. Trump sharing messages in November last year from a member of the controversial group Britain First, which highlighted Islamist violence.
Mr. Trump has not sought to defend Britain First directly and has previously argued that the message, rather than the source, is important. He told Prime Minister Theresa May to focus on fighting Islamic terror instead of condemning him as “wrong” after he shared the posts.
Mr. Khan continued: “Twitter has now banned this woman from Twitter. I’m appalled that a member [Mr. Kurten] of a political party [UKIP] standing in the Assembly doesn’t call out somebody amplifying messages from a racist.
“I will not apologise for calling that out. I think President Trump was wrong to ‘retweet’ not once, not twice, but three times the tweets of a racist, of a vile, of a fascist group.”
WATCH | Pathetic attempt by @SadiqKhan to shut down a perfectly reasonable line of questioning re: his opposition to @realDonaldTrump by dragging up the murder of Jo Cox. Shameful! pic.twitter.com/V8DU7EYoeq
— LEAVE.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) January 18, 2018
The mayor has also loudly criticised Mr. Trump’s proposed travel ban from terror-linked states, citing it as a reason for his attacks on the president alongside the retweets.
Continuing his questioning, Mr. Kurten pointing out that Mr. Khan had recently visited Pakistan, which has a travel ban on Israeli citizens, and asked if he condemned that ban too.
“Why did you welcome ambassadors from countries with a travel ban to City Hall, and spend taxpayers’ money on wining and dining them, but you’re also not welcoming Donald Trump?” he added.
Mr. Khan claimed to have condemned travel bans generally in the past, but said the latter part of the question was hypocritical (because he also needed to promote trade with Pakistan) before angrily calling Mr. Kurten “out of order”.
London Mayor Hosts Party with 11 Nations that Ban Israelishttps://t.co/TStt0RAEsI
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) February 1, 2017