Trump cancels UK trip citing Obama's 'bad' embassy deal
US President Donald Trump has cancelled a visit to the United Kingdom expected to take place next month, citing his displeasure at the new US embassy in London he was due to inaugurate.
In a tweet, Trump said the new embassy building was part of a "bad deal" as he blamed the Obama administration for selling the previous one in Grosvenor Square for "peanuts".
Reason I canceled 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
However, the relocation plan was first reported when former president George W Bush was still in the White House, in 2008.
The new embassy, which cost $1.2bn, is located near Battersea Power Station in southwest London. US government sources have hinted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be the one to open the embassy.
David Lammy, a member of the opposition Labour party, was among those who doubted Trump's reason for bailing out on the trip.
"What a load of ********!" Lammy tweeted. "You finally got the message that you’d be met by millions of us out on the streets protesting."
UK Prime Minister Theresa May had extended an invitation to Trump for a state visit after she became the first world leader to visit the new president in the White House last year.
The agenda of a state visit is agreed upon by the government, the visiting government, and the royal family, with Queen Elizabeth acting as the official host.
However, in the aftermath of Trump retweeting an account associated with the far-right nationalist group Britain First back in November, many politicians and MPs made it clear that the US president will not be welcomed.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna told media at the time that Trump is "normalising hatred".
"I am absolutely astounded that any person in his position holding the office he does should be promoting the propaganda of a far-right British group," Umunna said.
Can somebody please make up a better lie for Trump not going to the UK–the "I won't cut the embassy ribbon bcs it was a bad deal" is just so absurd. Please…somebody in the White House–anybody–just write a better lie for scaredy pants…
— JeffreyFeldman (@JeffreyFeldman) January 12, 2018
House of Commons speaker John Bercow had previously said he would not allow the US president to speak at Westminster because of parliament's opposition "to racism and to sexism".
Last month, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged for the British public to come out in full force if Trump visited the UK in order to send him a "clear message".
Amost two million people signed a petition in 2017 calling for the president's invitation to be withdrawn.
The prime minister's office did not confirm that the visit has been cancelled, with a spokesperson reportedly telling media that "an invitation has been extended and accepted, but no date has been set".