Trump Not Picking a Fight With London Mayor Sadiq Khan, White House Insists

Media shouldn't 'obsess' over every details of Trump's tweets, White House says after Trump berated London mayor in several tweets after terrorist attack

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan arrives in Potters Field Park for an event for the victims of Saturday nights attacks, London, June 5, 2017.
Reuters / Tom Jacobs

U.S. President Donald Trump was not picking a fight with London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday in a critical tweet made from his personal account, the White House has said Monday.

In its remarks, the White House accused the media of "obsessing too much" over "every detail" of Trump's tweets. 

"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 on Monday, a day after mocking Khan for urging city residents to remain calm following a deadly terrorist attack in the British capital.

On Sunday, Trump also berated the mayor: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" Trump tweeted.

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Trump was apparently responding to comments made by Khan in an interview earlier in the day, in which he said: "Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days - no reason to be alarmed."

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In the attack late on Saturday, three assailants drove a van at pedestrians on London Bridge before getting out of the van in the bustling Borough Market area and stabbing a number of people. All three attackers were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call to officers. 

Meanwhile, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May said it was wrong to criticize London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who represents the opposition Labour party, praising him for his response to Saturday's attack and saying he is "doing a good job" as mayor.

"I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it's wrong to say anything else," May told reporters Monday at an election campaign event when asked about US President Donald Trump's attacks on Khan.

May declined to criticize Trump for his remarks, but she said she had disagreed with the US leader on issues such as climate change.

"I have been critical of Donald Trump before. I don't think he should have pulled out of the climate agreement," she said.

It was not clear if she was speaking before or after Trump's most recent tweet on Khan.

Khan has been an outspoken critic of Trump and has called on the British government to withdraw its invitation to the U.S. president in light of his executive order barring entry to the U.S. for visitors from several Muslim countries.

In March, Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. raised the furor of many Brits after tweeting insults at Khan in the midst of a terror attack on Parliament. 

“You have to be kidding me?!” the young Trump — like his father an avid fan of social media — tweeted out, as details of the attack became clear. “Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.”

The seemingly out-of-nowhere swipe turns out to be connected to an article from last September in the British newspaper The Independent. In an interview, Khan was quoted reacting to a bombing in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, saying that terrorism preparedness, including providing sufficient support to the police, was “part and parcel of living in a great global city.” 

Trump’s mischaracterization of the popular London mayor’s remarks and the questionable timing of his twitter musings did not sit well with many Brits. “You dug this up specifically to garner twitter traffic when people are dying/ injured. How does this help? SAD [(c)Your Dad],” tweeted one.