Outrage as Trump targets London mayor

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump lashed out on Sunday at London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, accusing him of downplaying the threat of terrorism a day after knife-wielding men mowed down and stabbed revellers in the British capital.
London’s mayor swiftly shot down the US president’s remarks, made in a series of overnight tweets, as critics accused Trump of exploiting a terror attack for political gain — and not for the first time.
A spokesman said Khan “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet.”
Trump poured scorn on Khan’s attempt to reassure the public after three assailants smashed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge then attacked revellers with knives.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” the US president said in one tweet.
Trump said the attack showed it was time to “stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” after tweeting the night before — as the scenes of panic in London were still unfolding — that it underscored the need for his contested “travel ban” on several Muslim-majority nations.
Khan, in an interview with BBC just hours after the attack, had said, “My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this.”
Responding Sunday to Trump’s criticism, a Khan spokesman issued a pointed statement saying that the mayor — busy coordinating a response to the attack even while reassuring Londoners and visitors — had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”
It was not the first time Trump has been accused of using a terror attack to make a political point, and with Londoners still in shock Sunday, the president’s tweets drew angry responses on both sides of the Atlantic.
David Lammy, a Labor Party member of Parliament, tweeted: “Cheap nasty & unbecoming of a national leader. Sort of thing that makes me want to quit politics on a day like this. Evil everywhere we look.”
In the United States, former vice president Al Gore told CNN that “I don’t think that a major terrorist attack like this is the time to criticise a mayor who is trying to organise his city’s response to this attack.”
Regarding Trump’s plug for his contested travel ban — which has been blocked by the courts — Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, tweeted, “We need to be outraged when the president exploits a terrible violent crime to push his discriminatory and illegal policy.” — AFP