President Donald Trump broke with decades of diplomatic protocol by labeling London’s mayor “pathetic” for his response to an Islamic State attack there Saturday night.
The U.S. president appeared, for the second time, to take a statement out of context that Sadiq Khan made Sunday explaining to Londoners a planned ramped up security presence around the city. And in so doing, Trump opted to drive another wedge between the United States and an ally with which American long has had a “special relationship.”
In a Monday morning tweet fired off 11 minutes before he was slated to receive his daily intelligence briefing, Trump called Khan’s statement a “pathetic excuse,” and accused mainstream media outlets of “working hard to sell it.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
That came a day after another tweet in which Trump criticized the London mayor, insinuating people should be scared after the attack that left seven dead and 48 wounded. Past leaders of the United States and other countries have tried to calm their citizens following attacks on their home soil or on the soil of their closest allies.
Trump, however, appears content preaching fear as the proper response.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
Khan’s full remarks suggest he was referring to the larger police footprint, rather than any credible intelligence of future attacks.
“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers,” Khan said in a Sunday morning television interview. “There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”
Rep. Jim Hines, a Connecticut Democrat who is a House Intelligence Committee member, tweeted that Trump’s willingness to lambast the mayor of a close ally after a terrorist attack shows that he “is dangerous.”
Escalating a feud with a recently attacked mayor/key global ally. Based on a misreading of what the mayor said. The President is dangerous. https://t.co/nACXEs0A5r
Trump’s tweet came a couple hours after earlier posts in which he slammed his own hand-picked Justice Department officials for asking the Supreme Court to review what he called a “watered down” executive order banning individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, rather than a tougher initial version.
Both versions were frozen by federal courts.
Trump’s tweets about the London attack appeared to overshadow the White House’s plans for “infrastructure week.” His top aides had wanted this week to focus on Trump’s plans to upgrade America’s bridges, roads, airports, and other infrastructure.
Trump’s tirade comes as Gallup puts his approval rating at just 36 percent, and the number of Americans who disapprove of his performance two percentage points shy of 60 percent.