A fair question from an unlikely source at 3:00 below. Khan’s been unusually game for a squabble with Trump dating back to last year, huh? Maybe he’s hoping to follow his predecessor as mayor, Boris Johnson, into the cabinet in a future administration and figures being loudly anti-Trump is the way to go.
Picking fights with Trump has been good business for all sorts of American left-wing personalities, beginning with the media. Why shouldn’t it work for left-wing Brits too?
Appearing on Channel 4 News on Monday evening, Khan said Trump was wrong about “many things” and that his state visit should not go ahead.
“I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” he said.
“When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”
That left Theresa May and her aides in a tough spot, not wanting to side with the American reactionary over the Brit from the other party but also not wanting to alienate a key ally in the White House. Asked what she thought of Trump’s shots at Khan, May tersely said, “Sadiq Khan is doing a good job. It’s wrong to say anything else.” Boris Johnson, now Foreign Minister, disagreed with Khan that Trump’s state visit this fall should be canceled but made a point of defending his “no reason to be alarmed” comments after the latest attack, saying that Khan had been “entirely right to say what he said to reassure people of his city about the presence of armed officers on the streets.”
May and Johnson aren’t just backing a fellow countryman over a foreigner (who isn’t well-liked locally) in lining up behind Khan, either. They’re lining up behind someone who’s popular. According to YouGov, Khan’s approval rating last month was net +41 and he was more trusted to make the right judgment on terrorism than either May or her Labour opponent, Jeremy Corbyn. Who, of course, is also dumping on Trump this week:
Sadiq Khan has spoken for London and our country in standing up to hate. That is how we stop terrorists winning, not by promoting division. https://t.co/qPtJBaPobI
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 5, 2017
Gonna be weird when Corbyn flames out on Thursday, May’s new government hits a rough patch next year, and Trump ends up welcoming Prime Minister Sadiq Khan to the White House in 2019. Imagine the awkwardness of the president having to make nice during an Oval Office photo op with someone he’s been baiting on Twitter for years.