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Why are Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan feuding again?

A spat between the Mayor of London and US president dates back to 2015.

Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan’s war of words dates back to 2015 (PA)
Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan’s war of words dates back to 2015 (PA)

Donald Trump’s dig at Sadiq Khan over the recent violence in London is the latest in a long-running spat between the pair.

The US president and mayor of London’s history of trading blows can be traced back to 2015, when Khan reacted to Trump’s plan for a “Muslim ban”.

In December 2015, he said in a BBC interview he hoped Trump would lose the presidential election “badly”.

Roughly five months later, when Khan was elected mayor in May 2016, Trump laid on some unusual praise: “If he does a great job, frankly that would be a terrific thing.”

In comments reported by the New York Times, the future president also hinted Khan, a Muslim, would be “exempt” from the proposed ban.

But days later the relationship soured after Trump admitted he was “offended” by Khan’s comment that his views of Islam were “ignorant”.

“When he won I wished him well,” Trump told Good Morning Britain. “Now, I don’t care about him. It doesn’t make any difference to me about him.”

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Trump dished out some rare praise after Khan was elected mayor, but it only took a few days for the relationship to sour (PA)

The feud intensified in the aftermath of the London Bridge attacks in June 2017, when a controversial tweet by Trump opened him up to widespread criticism.

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!””, the president wrote.

Khan’s spokesman released a scathing rebuke, pointing out the comment was taken out of context.

The mayor had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet”, he said.

Trump didn’t stop there – he again responded: “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM [mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!”

Days later the mayor called for plans for a Trump state visit to be scrapped.

In July 2018 Trump eventually did travel to Britain – not on an official state visit – for a trip which marked the first public flight of the “baby blimp”.

The giant inflatable effigy of Trump flew over Parliament Square after Khan’s office granted the organisers permission.

On the eve of his visit, the president told The Sun Khan had “done a very bad job on terrorism”.

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The flames were stoked when Khan’s office gave approval for the Trump blimp to fly during the president’s first UK visit since his election (PA)

After a year of relative silence, the spat resurfaced this month, June 2019, during Trump’s official state visit to the UK.

Moments before he stepped off the plane, the president tweeted that Khan “has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me”.

He then misspelled the mayor’s name in a follow-up tweet, adding: “Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height.

“In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit.”

Trump then doubled down on his criticism during a press conference with Theresa May.

“He could straighten out some of the problems that he has caused,” Trump said of Khan.

Khan told the Press Association: “I’m not 12 years old in a playground, I’m just surprised Donald Trump thinks he is.”

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Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, who has received praised from Trump, also once had a small run-in with the president (PA)

He isn’t the first London Mayor to have a run-in with Trump.

In 2015, the then mayor Boris Johnson hit back after Trump said London had areas “so radicalised” by Islam that police were “afraid for their own lives”.

Johnson responded: “The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”

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