Fear of protests forces Donald Trump to cancel London's visit

A police officer stands guard at the American Embassy in central London

A police officer stands guard at the American Embassy in central London

President Donald Trump has canceled a trip to London to open the new $1 billion U.S. Embassy in the British capital, a move that avoided protests promised by political opponents.

Johnson, a Trump appointee, also said the new embassy was entirely paid for by the sale of other London properties and "did not cost the USA taxpayer a cent".

"Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for "peanuts", only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars", the President said. In an outburst on Twitter, the United States president said the new location is "bad" and no, he won't cut the ribbon.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has repeatedly clashed with Trump, welcomed the cancellation of the trip as well.

Large demonstrations are expected to accompany any visit to the British capital by Trump, who is deeply unpopular here.

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"I doubt that President Trump wanted to expose himself to that". That allows him to talk about how popular he is and how nice the public response has been.

The new embassy is certainly in a less-central and less-prestigious location in London.

Indeed, many in London believe the USA president anticipated a horde of protesters would meet him there, as the billionaire-turned-politician has elicited much negative energy among many liberal groups in London, due to a perception - whether true or not - that he has discriminated against Muslims and Hispanics.

Sadiq Khan said the USA president had "got the message" from Londoners and would have been met by "mass peaceful protests" if he went ahead with plans to open the new embassy. "It seems he's finally got that message", Khan tweeted.

"Let's hope that Donald Trump also resists the pursuit of his divisive agenda".

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The cancellation is a further blow to relations between the allies.

"A multi-disciplinary team of professionals considered over 170 criteria, to include physical security requirements, and determined that the Nine Elms site was the best overall location for the United States government", the statement added. "That is not likely to change at any point in the foreseeable future", West said.

As an American living in London, however, I was embarrassed: not, for once, because of the behaviour of my president, but for my British hosts. But the date has yet to be set in the face of deep hostility to the American leader in Britain, prompting speculation it could be turned into a lower-profile trip focused on the opening of the new embassy.

A Trump visit has been on the cards since British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the United States a few days after Trump's inauguration previous year.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not reply to a request for comment.

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