In July last year, when Trump last visited Britain, I wrote a post saying ‘Admit it, Donald Trump is right about Sadiq Khan.’ The two men had just had one of their already numerous Twitter spats and it seemed a point worth making.
Trump just landed in London again this morning. Sure enough, the Trump vs Khan outrage ritual is underway. Yesterday Khan tweeted:
History teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power.
Across the world, the far right is on the rise. Against this backdrop, London stands out as a beacon of hope. And that’s worth defending.https://t.co/tBNwuFPe7Y
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 2, 2019
As Trump landed, he snapped back:
….Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019
If the president only realized how unimportant the role of London mayor really is — American mayors such as de Blasio have far more clout — he might be less inclined to rise to Khan’s bait. But it’s just the same Twitter show, performed again to excite Trump fans and Trumphobes alike.
Actually, I have changed my mind since last year. I don’t think Trump should attack the London mayor upon his arrival. He shouldn’t stoop to Khan’s level. He shouldn’t dignify Khan — who is little more than a left-liberal troll at this point — with a response.
Trump being Trump, he can’t resist counter-punching Khan. Twitter spats are his modus operandi. But it is a shame that he has insisted on reigniting his feud with Khan, since there are far more interesting things to talk about at this important moment in the relations between America and Brexit Britain. Trump vs Khan is a silly distraction, a bit like that ridiculous (and oddly small) Trump baby protest blimp that commands so much media attention.
Of course, Trump is still right that Khan should focus on knife-crime, which is soaring under his watch, instead of trying to score cheap points against the president. But that is what he has become: a petty, press-release mayor who has so far achieved very little and diminished his own office. When he was elected, Londoners celebrated the fact that a Muslim man could be elected, and rightly so. But he has been very unimpressive. Now the only time he commands any significant attention is when Donald Trump blows into town. Trump has just given him precisely the publicity he so craves.