EXCLUSIVE: President cancels his visit to London and pulls out of opening new £750m US embassy blaming the Obama administration for 'a bad deal'
- US President was expected to make his first trip to the UK since entering office
- But Government officials have been told the president has gone cold on the idea
- No new date has been offered, raising the prospect of a major diplomatic snub
- Mr Trump tweeted that Obama sold the 'finest embassy in London for 'peanuts''
- But US unveiled plans to move in 2008 when George W Bush was in White House
Donald Trump, pictured in Washington yesterday, has scrapped plans to visit Britain
Donald Trump has scrapped plans to visit Britain next month.
The US President was expected to make his first trip to the UK since entering office, but Government officials have been told he has gone cold on the idea.
No new date has been offered, raising the prospect of a major diplomatic snub.
One senior source suggested Mr Trump – who was expected to officially open the new US embassy in London – cancelled because he was unhappy about the arrangements and the scale of the visit.
But Mr Trump tweeted overnight that he thought the US embassy's move from Grosvenor Square in London's prestigious Mayfair district to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a 'bad deal'.
He said: 'Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts', only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!'
Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 - when his fellow Republican George W Bush was in the White House.
The reversal comes despite Mr Trump telling Theresa May last month that he would come to Britain in the New Year.
Mr Trump tweeted overnight that he was 'not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts', only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2billion'
Preparations were advanced for a 'working' visit to officially open the embassy, but the Mail understands this role will now be performed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Mr Trump was also scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week.
The President was not due to meet the Queen until a full state visit at a later date, and a second source said the lack of 'bells and whistles' and royal involvement next month visit may have discouraged him.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of the US President, suggested that concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit's cancellation.
Mr Trump had told Theresa May (pictured at the London Wetland Centre yesterday) last month that he would visit Britain this year
'It's disappointing - he has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest,' Mr Farage said.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of supporting protests.
'Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn't like the look of.'
Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was 'very welcome he is not coming any more', adding: 'He runs counter to British values.'
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested that Mr Trump was more aware of opposition in the UK than in other countries he had visited because it was expressed in English.
'I think it's a great shame; the United States is very much one of our closest allies, but the alliance isn't based on who lives in the White House and who lives in Number 10, it's based on shared values, common interests and absolute commitment to the international rules-based system which we have both spent the best part of 70 years upholding through Nato, through the United Nations and through various other treaty organisations around the world,' he told Today.
'While I think it's a shame, I think - if I'm honest - it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, Korean and other languages and we criticise in English, and it's much easier for him to read English.'
Officials have already moved into the £750million US embassy near Battersea Power Station in South London. The new building will open for business on January 16
The former US Embassy on Grosvenor Square in London's Mayfair, which Mr Trump has described as 'perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London'
In reply to Mr Trump's tweet today, former Labour leader Ed Miliband posted: 'Nope it's because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message.'
Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson said: 'News that Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram and cancelled his trip to the UK will be welcomed by all of us who reject his abhorrent views.
'But it's a disappointing sign of how weak May's leadership is that she wasn't brave enough to call the visit off herself.
'The Prime Minister should be ashamed that she was so keen to roll out the red carpet to a man who spreads hate and division at every turn, and goes out of his way to undermine British values.'
Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter: 'Reason Donald Trump cancelled trip to London is that we are not a big fan of his racist, sexist, unthinking behaviour.
'Big protests if he came to cut ribbon. He wanted the red carpet treatment and cheering crowds - NO!'
In reply to Mr Trump's tweet today, former Labour leader Ed Miliband posted: 'Nope it's because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message.'
Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter: 'Reason Donald Trump cancelled trip to London is that we are not a big fan of his racist, sexist, unthinking behaviour'
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage (left), an ally of Mr Trump, suggested concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit's cancellation, while Labour MP Chuka Umunna (right, both on BBC Radio 4 this morning) said it was 'very welcome he is not coming any more'
Mr Trump has previously expressed concern about the likelihood of mass protests. Last year he told Mrs May he did not want to go ahead with a visit until the British public supported it.
The Prime Minister and the President clashed in November when she criticised his decision to re-tweet anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-Right group, Britain First.
In a rare public rebuke, she said: 'I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.'
Mr Trump hit back on Twitter, saying: 'Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.' He added: 'We are doing just fine!'
They clashed again when Mrs May criticised his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling it 'unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region'.
However, following a phone call between the pair on December 19, officials were bullish about the visit taking place. Their conversation was described as 'genial'.
President Trump, pictured here with his wife Melania, may have cancelled the trip because he was unhappy about the arrangements and the scale of the visit
The prospect of mass protests were raised last month after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his followers to turn out in force if Mr Trump visited the UK to send him a 'clear message'.
More than a million people signed a petition last year calling for the state visit to be cancelled.
Officials have already moved into the £750million US embassy near Battersea Power Station in South London. The new building will open for business on January 16.
In December Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: 'I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.'
He said the new embassy was a 'signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better'.
On the embassy web page about the project, it said: 'The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.'
Mr Trump was due to officially open the new US embassy in London (pictured). The Mail understands this role will now be performed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
An official opening involving the two leaders would have dispelled any concerns about the 'special relationship' between Britain and the US, and boosted hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal.
Last night, Downing Street refused to comment. A spokesman said: 'An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted.'
The US embassy said no firm date had been announced and suggested the President was still expected this year.
Last month, the White House said it would announce details 'soon' of Mr Trump's proposed visit to the UK.
On Tuesday, the White House confirmed Mr Trump will attend the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos. The event, from January 23 to 26, brings together the world's economic and political elites.
Mr Trump has been battling the fallout from a highly critical book. He tried to ban Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, but it soared to the top of the bestseller lists.
President Trump clashed with Mrs May in November when she criticised his decision to re-tweet anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-Right group, Britain First
The book claimed officials around the President questioned his 'intelligence and fitness for office'.
In the Commons this week, Labour frontbencher Liz McInnes urged the Government to withdraw the invitation for a state visit, calling it 'wretched'. She said it should be scrapped to 'save Her Majesty from that unpleasant-sounding ordeal'.
But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: 'I think Her Majesty the Queen is well capable of taking this American President, or indeed any American President, in her stride.'
Yesterday alone, Mr Trump made several foreign policy blunders, as the Washington Post reported that he insulted immigrants coming into the US from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
'Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?' Mr Trump said.
He also gave an interview with the Wall Street Journal where he made confusing remarks about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The prospect of mass protests during any visit were raised last month after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his followers to turn out in force if Mr Trump visited the UK
'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,' Mr Trump said, after months of taunting him with the nickname 'Little Rocket Man.'
The US president has had a number of foreign policy stumbles throughout his first year in office.
In May, Mr Trump memorably shoved aside the leader of Montenegro during a Nato summit, pushing his way to the front of a photo-op.
He has confused facts, suggesting Korea used to be part of China, when it was not, and has also conflated the identities of Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III.
Members of Mr Trump's White House team have not made things better, misspelling Mrs May's first name three times – by dropping the 'H' – on the official schedule of her January 2017 visit.
This week, the White House erroneously spelled 'Norway' as 'Normay' while the country's prime minister was heading to Washington DC.
Saudi Arabia, Israel and many more: Countries Mr Trump HAS visited
The President was welcomed with a bouquet of flowers at King Khalid International Airport in the capital Riyadh. As he arrived, he was flanked by horsemen carrying Saudi and American flags. He even held King Salman's hand as he was welcomed by the Saudi Royal Court.
Mr and Mrs Trump, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (second left) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (left) touch an illuminated globe at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 21 last year
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara welcomed the President and First Lady Melania to their 'palace'. Mr Netanyahu said they had the house painted especially for the visit, and he gave the Trumps a 150-year-old bottle of wine as a gift.
Mr Trump (left) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) arrive to deliver a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23 last year
Mr Trump's 24-hour visit was topped off with a military parade on Bastille Day. Mr Trump, who was guest of honour at the celebrations, enthusiastically applauded the soldiers and tanks on the Champs Elysees. He later shared a 29-second handshake with French president Emmanuel Macron.
French President Emmanuel Macron (second left), his wife Brigitte Macron (left), Mr and Mrs Trump pose ahead of a dinner at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on July 13 last year
Mr Macron and Mr Trump at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on July 13 last year
An enthusiastic reception as people were bussed in to Warsaw and chanted 'Donald Trump' throughout his speech.
Mr and Mrs Trump stand with Polish President Andrzej Duda (second right) and Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda (right) before a speech in Warsaw on July 6 last year
The reception was not as warm, with protesters lining the streets as the President attended the G20 summit.
Mr Trump shakes hands with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 last year
Mr Trump was welcomed with an elaborate palace ceremony and a round of golf with one of the country's champion players.
Mr Trump (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) walk together ahead of their working lunch at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on November 6 last year
President Moon Jae-in repeatedly invoked Mr Trump's campaign slogan by saying he was 'making America great again'.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In (right) shakes hands with Mr Trump (left) at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on November 7 last year
President Xi Jinping personally showed Mr Trump around the Imperial Palace.
China's President Xi Jinping (left) and Mr Trump review Chinese honour guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9 last year
It's not that bad, Mr President! Inside the new £750million Fortress America on the banks of the Thames, featuring a security moat and gardens on every floor
The new US Embassy is a distinctive 12-storey, cube-shaped building, located between Vauxhall and Battersea in south-west London, and has been designed by Philadelphia architecture firm Kieran Timberlake.
The £750million crystalline structure, which won the 2013 New London Architecture Award, was designed to reflect the ideals of American democracy - transparency, openness and equality.
Panoramic views of the Thames can be enjoyed through gold-starred floor-to-ceiling windows, while a glimpse of Westminster provides a reassuring nod that the capital's political heart is just a stone's throw away.
The new US Embassy is a distinctive 12-storey, cube-shaped building, located between Vauxhall and Battersea in south-west London
The 12-storey building, right, had been expected to be inaugurated by President Donald Trump
Inside, gardens representing different American states wind around the stairs linking each floor, while a semi-circular pond, not dissimilar to a moat, fronts the building.
The embassy in South London expects to welcome 1,000 visitors a day and will employ 800 staff at the building.
Its location within the Nine Elms development places it within a 561-acre regeneration project set to transform one of the South Bank's last remaining industrial stretches.
It includes an extension of London Underground's Northern Line, with two new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms due to open in 2020.
The embassy boasts six interior as well as six exterior gardens. Some of the gardens were inspired by regions in America, including Potomac River Valley, Canyonlands, Gulf Coast and the Midwest
The building in the 4.9-acre development boasts 518,000 square feet of space, compared with the current embassy's 225,000
Developers hope the area will become a thriving business hub, with Penguin Random House UK and Apple set to open offices south of the river, while the Royal College of Arts has submitted a planning application for a £50 million state-of-the-art building.
They hope the project will bring to the area thousands of new homes, 25,000 new jobs, green spaces and visitor attractions.
Currently, much of the area resembles a large construction site, with the skyline changing constantly as the developments progress.
Donald Trump has claimed that he cancelled his planned visit to Britain over his dissatisfaction with the new embassy, which will open for business on January 16.
President Donald Trump had been expected to inaugurate the embassy in London
The crystalline structure, which won the 2013 New London Architecture Award, was designed to reflect the ideals of American democracy - transparency, openness and equality
The US President had been due to open the new embassy, located on the banks of the River Thames, during a trip to the capital next month.
However, in a tweet, Mr Trump hit out at the location of the $1.2billion project - and pointed the finger at Barack Obama over its sale.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy's move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a 'bad deal'.
He wrote: 'Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts', only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!'
Panoramic views of the Thames can be enjoyed through gold-starred floor-to-ceiling windows
British government sources said they had never officially been informed of a date for Mr Trump to make a visit, but speculation had suggested he would formally open the embassy at a ceremony in February.
Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Mr Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 - when George W Bush was in the White House.
The sale of the iconic property in Mayfair, however, went through in 2009, when Mr Obama was in office.
The current embassy building in London's Grosvenor Square was bought by Qatari Diar – the property development arm of the Qatari royal family – for an undisclosed price.
The current embassy building in London's Grosvenor Square was bought by Qatari Diar – the property development arm of the Qatari royal family – for an undisclosed price
At the time of the sale, experts had valued the site to £500million, but it sold for £315million
At the time, experts had valued the site to £500million, but it sold for £315million.
Shortly before the sale it was made a Grade II listed building which may have reduced the value as this would restrict any development.
The property is one of the few US embassies not to stand on land owned by the US government, and following a failed attempt to buy it from the Duke of Westminster in the 1940s, it remains part of the Grosvenor Estate.
The old US embassy will become a five-star hotel in the Rosewood group with 137 bedrooms, costing the Qataris $1.4bn (£1.08bn) to refurbish.
Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama (left), the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 - when George W Bush (right) was in the White House
The President called the move and the cost of the new building a 'bad deal', and on the embassy web page about the project, it said: 'The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.'
Speaking last month, US Ambassador Woody Johnson said the new embassy was a symbol of the growing UK-US special relationship, while reminiscing fondly over the Grade II-listed London Chancery Building that the team were leaving.
He added: 'We are looking forward to welcoming the president when he comes over here. I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.'
'Phrases I didn't expect at 7AM on Radio 4 "s***hole"': Shock as BBC newsreader repeats Trump's immigrant comments (complete with swearing)
BY ANTHONY JOSEPH
Radio 4 listeners were shocked to hear the word 's***hole' read out by a newsreader in the morning news bulletin.
In his hourly bulletin, he said: 'During a meeting with Republicans and Democrats in the Oval Office, Mr Trump asked why the United States should take in people from what he called "s***hole countries".'
The use of the swear word appeared to be intentional, as it was read out each hour on the programme.
And listeners were stunned at hearing the expletive live on morning radio.
President Donald Trump reportedly told lawmakers in the Oval Office that he was mystified about why the U.S. imports people from 's***hole countries' in the Third World
Matthew Whitt tweeted: 'I know we shouldn't laugh, but it was quite funny on Radio 4 this morning hearing the newsreader quoting the POTUS' "s***hole countries" in his best BBC voice.'
Journalist John Stevens said: 'Are you allowed to say s***hole at 7:06am on Radio 4?! #r4today'
Laurie Margolis wrote: 'Odd morning. A heron walks right in front of me in Hendon Park. And I hear the word “s***hole” on the Radio 4 News. And it’s only 6-25. Awaiting strange third event. #watchout'
Sky News presenter Samantha Washington said: 'The word “s***hole” on radio 4. #peaktrump?'
And Jamie Hoyle added: 'Phrases I didn’t expect at 7AM on Radio 4 in impeccable received pronunciation: “s***hole countries”'.
President Trump's comments sparked uproar, with many people accusing him of racism.
Frustrated with America's continued responsibility for immigrants fleeing Third World natural disasters, he asked members of Congress in vulgar terms why the United States had to shoulder such a burden.
'S***HOLE COUNTRY': shows people walking past a street damaged by Hurricane Matthew, in Jeremie, in western Haiti. The country's perilous state had meant its citizens have temporary protected status in the U.S. - apparently one of the causes of Trump's extraordinary outburst - which is now being rescinded
'Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?' Trump said, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting and then leaked the comment to The Washington Post.
Trump was reportedly speaking about Haitians and citizens of various African nations.
'Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,' he told people in the meeting, according to CNN.
Instead, he said, the U.S. should seek to assimilate people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with a day earlier.
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