Mayor Khan Says UK Has a ‘Responsibility’ to ‘Call Out’ Trump for Tweets, But Not Saudi Arabia

Sadiq Khan
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Sadiq Khan has said “we have a responsibility” to “call out” the “wrong” President Donald J. Trump for his tweets, but not human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia because the UK is “best friends” with the U.S.

The leftist London Mayor also dismissed criticism of his encouragement of “loud” protests against the President’s visit and appeared to partially blame the cost of policing the event for crime in the city.

UKIP London Assembly Member David Kurten had slammed the Mayor for his “personal animosity” to president Trump as “grandstanding”, insisting he explains why he did not criticise authoritarian and Islamist leaders who have recently visited London.

“Well, the difference is this: we have a special relationship with the USA – we are ‘best friends.’ We don’t have the same relationship with these other countries,” he said.

“And I think one of the responsibilities, when you have a best friend, is to stand shoulder to shoulder in times of adversity, but call them out when they are wrong.

“I appreciate some people like to be sycophants all of the time,” he said, visibly angered, pointing directly at Mr. Kurten. “I believe it is important, though, to call out your best friend when they’re wrong,” he continued, attacking Mr. Trump one again for allegedly “racist tweets that divide our communities”.

“You should be ashamed as a UKIP member to defend that behaviour,” he concluded, appearing to scowl at the UKIP Assembly Members.

In a written question, Mr. Kurten asked the Mayor: “Why have you been vocal in opposition to President Trump’s visit to the UK, but have not made any comment about the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince or President Erdoğan of Turkey and human rights abuses in their countries?”

Initially, Mr. Khan dodged the question, talking about policing and insisting the Metropolitan force was “working closely” with “key partners” so that President Trumps’s visit can take place safely.

“In coming to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear,” Mr. Khan said.

“There could well be a demonstration or two,” he continued, smirking with chuckles heard in the background. “If there are, the Met and I are committed that this happens in a peaceful and lawful manner.”

He then highlighted the “significant policing cost attributed to any such event of this scale… which central government continually refuse to fund,” appearing to link the event to London’s on-going crime wave.

“I will continue to press the government to ensure we have enough money to keep out city safe and secure,” he said.

Mr. Kurten pushed again, highlighting the Mayor’s relentless attacks on President Trump, and asking why the Mayor has appeared to encourage “noisy” protests.

“Don’t you think you should have been a little bit more responsible in your use of words?” he asked, adding: “Because that might be courting trouble during the President’s visit.”

Mr. Khan once again refused to address the question, simply attacking past comments by Mr. Kurten, where he linked mass migration to rising crime, and accusing him of using “dangerous language” himself.

The UKIP member then reminded Mr. Khan of the on-going anti-Semitism scandal in his party, Labour, to which Mr. Khan shouted back, nodding with a broad smile: “The idea of being lectured about racism from a UKIP representative!”

The room erupted in jeers and table banging before Mr. Kurten asked his question again, and finally received an answer.

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