London mayor permits Trump blimp to soar over city during upcoming visit

It’s no secret that London Mayor Sadiq Khan isn’t a fan of President Donald Trump. To help send that message as Trump arrives in town, Khan has signed off on a permit for protesters to fly a blimp of a diapered Trump holding an iPhone. The in-your-face gesture will be carried out over Parliament Square Garden as Trump visits next week.

Readers may remember that Mayor Khan has a history of declaring Trump is not welcome in London. Back in November 2017, Khan asked U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel any plans of a visit with Trump after he shared some British anti-Islam videos. Then in January 2018, Trump canceled plans to attend the opening of a new U.S. embassy in London and the mayor claimed that Londoners had made it clear that Trump is not welcome there. Then in April 2018, Mayor Khan announced that Trump will visit London in July so Londoners should “show their liberal values” and “voice their freedom of speech”:

Trump is set to visit the U.K. in July, it was announced on Thursday. He had previously canceled a trip to Britain over concerns in Washington that his visit would prompt protests.

“If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear,” Khan tweeted Thursday. “He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.”

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, approved the flying of the blimp but it will first also need permission from the Metropolitan police and the National Air Traffic Service.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed to The Washington Post that his office had granted permission for the blimp to take off, saying in an email that Khan “supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms.”

The spokesman added that the activists flying the blimp “will also need to receive the necessary approvals from the Metropolitan Police and National Air Traffic Service in order for it to fly.”

The activists behind the blimp stunt have named it ‘Trump Baby’ – not exactly a creative name. They describe themselves as anti-fascist art activists. They have raised more than $20,000 online via crowdfunding and over 10,000 people have signed a petition asking for permission to fly the blimp. The activists describe the blimp as a “six-meter high orange, inflatable baby with a malevolent face and tiny hands” according to the Washington Post article.

The activists hope to fly the blimp for two hours during a “Stop Trump” march.

Strict rules are in place for the flight from Parliament Square Gardens, with the balloon being tethered to the ground and restricted from floating higher than 30m (98ft).

It will fly between 9.30am and 11.30am on Friday 13 July – coinciding with the president’s visit to the UK and a “Stop Trump” march in central London.

The mayor may not be thrilled that Trump is coming to town but Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, sounds excited about it.

But wait, there’s more. Not to be outdone, the Mayor of Sheffield says Trump is not welcome in his town when Trump visits London on July 13. Nevermind that no American president has visited Sheffield in more than a century. Mayor Magid Magid told the city council that Trump is “banned”.

At a city council meeting, Magid announced Trump was “banned” from visiting Sheffield. In a subsequent tweet, the mayor laid out his opposition to the U.S. president, citing Trump’s “ridiculous” ban on travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries, his decision to quit the Paris climate agreement and his defense of “white supremacists,” among other issues.

“We need to be honest, bold and courageous in our viewpoints,” Magid said, according to the BBC. “As a world leader, he has a lot of weight, and we have to fight that hate.”

To rub it in, Magid made the declaration wearing a sombrero, in “solidarity” with Mexico — a frequent target of Trump diatribes. And the mayor declared July 13 as Mexico solidarity day in Sheffield.

Oh. The mayor wore a sombrero to make the announcement. How cheeky of him. He’s 28 years old and one of Britain’s youngest politicians. He’s a refugee from Somalia.

A wasteman, in case anyone wonders, is slang for a person of little merit. Sure. Trump’s the leader of the free world and Magic Magid is mayor to 500,000 people in a town never visited by American leadership. You can see why he’s so taken with himself, right? Please. Give me a break.

Trump will take Prime Minister May up on her offer of a full state visit. Only two other American presidents have been extended such an offer – George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He will meet with Queen Elizabeth during his visit. It’s unlikely that the word wasteman will come up in that conversation.