President Trump doubled down on his criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s comments in the wake of Saturday’s terror attacks, as the second feud involving the two leaders in the span of a year continued to smolder on Monday.
Trump initially had criticized Khan for a post-attack quote in which the first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital said there was “no reason to be alarmed” amid increased police presence. Khan brushed off Trump’s initial censure, and the president dug in Monday morning with a more direct shot.
“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!” Trump tweeted.
Khan’s “no reason to be alarmed” line was in the context of a broader quote regarding a bolstered police presence.
“You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers,” Khan said Sunday. “There is no reason to be alarmed by this.”
Trump on Sunday night suggested the mayor was downplaying the terror attack itself.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump wrote.
In a statement, the mayor’s office said Khan “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police — including armed officers — on the streets.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May defended Khan on Monday.
“I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else – he’s doing a good job,” May said.
The acting U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom – an Obama administration pick – also praised Khan, in apparent defiance of Trump’s statements.
“I commend the strong leadership of the @MayorofLondon as he leads the city forward after this heinous attack,” Lewis Leukens tweeted from the official embassy Twitter account.
The hostility between Trump and Khan began in the midst of the 2016 U.S. presidential race, when, in May, Khan pummeled Trump for his statements about Muslims, calling Trump’s view of Islam “ignorant.” Khan, at the time the newly elected London mayor, also indicated his support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m confident that Donald Trump’s approach to politics won’t win in America,” Khan told TIME magazine.
Trump responded on a British television show, saying he would “remember” Khan’s words.
“I think they're very rude statements and frankly, tell him, I will remember those statements,” he said. “They're very nasty statements.”