Amid a heated debate in Britain over whether President Trump’s invitation to visit the country should be rescinded because of his inflammatory tweets, officials in the royal London borough of Greenwich took pre-emptive action: If the visit goes ahead, the president will not be welcome in the area, they said.
This “is a peaceful and welcoming place that celebrates difference and diversity, but in the case of President Trump we are willing to make an exception,” said Denise Hyland, Greenwich’s top local government official, after councilors adopted a motion Thursday that recommends Trump not be allowed to visit the historic neighborhood that sits south of the River Thames.
Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian, a conceptual line that divides the Earth into eastern and western hemispheres, as well as Cutty Sark, the legendary British last real tea clipper ship. The area’s rich maritime history, historical buildings and riverside location draw hordes of locals and tourists alike. A motion has no legal weight, but it is a declaration of wishes, akin to a resolution.
Greenwich councilors expressed, according to the motion, “alarm at the decision of President Trump to retweet Islamophobic Propaganda” and “sadness at the President’s bigoted attitude towards women and ethnic minorities.”
Trump regularly tweets or retweets unverified, inaccurate and prejudicial information.
He also angered many Britons when he publicly feuded with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold the post.
Late last month, Trump retweeted three Twitter posts originally published by Britain First, an extreme right-wing group. The posts included anti-Muslim video clips. British Prime Minister Theresa May rebuked Trump for his retweets, saying he was “wrong” to do do. Trump responded: “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”
May has extended an invitation for Trump to make an official state visit to Britain, but it has been repeatedly put on hold. The White House postponed the trip until 2018 without saying why.
Thousands of people protested in February, calling on May to withdraw the invitation for a state visit. A petition to cancel the trip was signed by nearly 2 million people.
Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, told the BBC this week that he expects Trump to make a working visit to to the country in the new year, when the president could personally dedicate the new U.S. Embassy building.