In the last part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s tour of the U.S. he spoke at the Clinton Global initiative meeting alongside former President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Khan is attempting to raise his own profile on the dime of London tax payers by sharing a stage with a former U.S. president after what some have considered inflammatory comments on assimilation and integration.
The London Mayor took the opportunity to hobnob with some of the most influential leaders in the world at the meeting in New York as his six-day tour of North America winds down, the Evening Standard reports.
And Mr. Khan took with him his new Deputy Mayor of London for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder who previously worked with the former Guantanamo Bay detainee group ‘CAGE’ (formerly CagePrisoners). CAGE stirred controversy in the UK after they described Islamic State executioner Jihadi John as a “beautiful man.”
CAGE stirred controversy in the UK after they described Islamic State executioner Jihadi John as a “beautiful man”. The group’s director, Moazzam Begg, has previously admitted to recruiting for Islamist extremists, as well as being arrested in 2014 for allegedly attending a terror training camp in Syria. The charges were dropped, according to the Guardian, because Britain’s intelligence services failed to communicate their knowledge of Begg’s movements to the police or prosecutors.
The Clinton Global Initiative meeting marks the end of the six-day trip which has seen Mr. Khan meet with hard-leftists including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal, Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York, and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago.
The trip has not been without controversy as Khan told Americans Monday that has said terror attacks are “part and parcel” of urban life, mere hours after a suspected terrorist bombing occurred in the city.
Mr. Khan spoke to the crowd at the event about a range of topics from Brexit, which he actively campaigned against, affordable housing and more global issues like air quality and the environment.
Also in attendance at the meeting was the beleaguered Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi who is facing a referendum on senate reform in December that many consider as a litmus test of his leadership.
Former President Bill Clinton joined Mr. Khan on stage at the event where, according to Bloomberg, attendees panicked over the influence of news sites like Breitbart.
“If Breitbart and Fox are going on and on and on about how laced with controversy this [Clinton Global Initiative] is, that’s going to sound alarms to companies that are very risk averse,” said Susan McPherson, a CGI member and CEO of McPherson Strategies.
Mr. Khan was initially supposed to have been scheduled for a different event that only involved Chelsea Clinton but was moved to the former President’s event a few days ago.
The meeting with the former president has led many to speculate that Mr. Khan is steadily building himself up to one day make a challenge for the Labour Party leadership in the United Kingdom.
He has already distanced himself from embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, admitting that he had not told Mr. Corbyn about any of his travel plans to America, nor had any expectations of briefing him after he returns.