After months of ongoing negotiations, last night several major British news outlets reported that Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom had been called off altogether. It wasn’t clear which side canceled the visit or why, but the timing suggested that the UK might have simply had enough after Trump’s racist remarks about Haiti and other predominantly black nations. Now the Trump-UK controversy has gotten uglier on both sides.
Late last night, after the news broke, Trump tried to take credit for the cancelation by posting this tweet: “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!”
The real facts are that the new U.S. Embassy in London was built to conform to higher security standards, and that the old U.S. Embassy lost real estate value because it had been declared a historic landmark that couldn’t be changed. In addition it was then-President George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, who made the decision to move the embassy. But facts have never mattered to Trump.
Today the UK took its own swing at Trump when a wax dummy of him from Madame Tussaud’s appeared in front of the U.S. Embassy in London (link). It hasn’t yet been confirmed who put the Trump wax dummy in front of the embassy, but as no theft has been reported, it seems likely that Madame Tussaud’s itself put it there as a prank. More importantly, the British government allowed it to remain outside the U.S. Embassy for some time, suggesting that it agrees with the point the pranksters were trying to make.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report