Sadiq Khan defends 20-foot Trump angry baby blimp and hits back on terror claims
“Can you imagine if we limited free speech because some people’s feelings would be hurt?”
London mayor Sadiq Khan has defended the right for a 20-foot "angry baby blimp" depicting president Donald Trump to be flown in Parliament Square during the US leader's four-day "working visit" to Britain.
Khan also accused the US president of singling him out over alleged terrorism failings after Trump used an interview with The Sun to launch a scathing attack on the mayor of London.
“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London,” Trump told the newspaper, before referring directly to Khan: “I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism. I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”
The president added: “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) July 13, 2018
However, Khan responded to the inflammatory comments this morning, saying terrorism was a global problem causing issues across Europe. “What is interesting is Trump is not criticising mayors of those cities, but he is criticising me,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
He added that Trumps claims linking terrorism to immigration were “preposterous".
“There has been an increase in violent crime across England and Wales … it’s gone up by more than 20% … and by 4% in London ... We must deal with the causes, but also enforcement and where we have lost £7m in our budget in London I have invested £4m ... [but] the idea to blame immigration from Africa is preposterous, and we should call him out when does,” Khan said.
Prior to the start of the president's official visit, Khan took the controversial decision to allow a 20-foot inflatable blimp depicting Trump to be flown above Parliament Square, saying to have done so would have been inhibitive to freedom of speech. Defending his decision, the mayor said: “Can you imagine if we limited free speech because some people’s feelings would be hurt?”
The flying blimp was funded via a crowdfunding project with over £30,000 having been raised so far. Its release into the air comes as 200,000 people are expected to march in London later today against the US leader's stay in the country.