Tuesday 22 October 2019

Tory leadership hopefuls should stay away from Donald Trump, says New York mayor

Bill de Blasio (Niall Carson/PA)
Bill de Blasio (Niall Carson/PA)

Ryan Wilkinson

New York's mayor has hit back at US president Donald Trump in defence of Sadiq Khan and warned Tory leadership hopefuls to "stay away" from the US president.

Bill de Blasio said Mr Trump had gone "beyond the pale" by firing off personal insults at the Mayor of London on Twitter as he arrived for his state visit on Monday.

Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio takes part in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York (Niall Carson/PA)
Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio takes part in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York (Niall Carson/PA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Seth Wenig/AP)

Mr Trump made jibes about Mr Khan's height and compared the Labour mayor to "our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio".

"Even for Donald Trump this was extreme. To attack a major leader of an allied country, there's no question in my mind this was beyond the pale in so many ways," Mr de Blasio told BBC's Newsnight.

"You know we've heard so many things from President Trump but this one is just not normal, it's not acceptable.

"Sadiq Khan to me is an exemplary leader. He raised a very powerful concern which obviously sparked Trump's ire when he said Donald Trump is part of this growing, intolerant, right-wing movement around the world that is harming democracy. It's harming the realities of a tolerant society."

The Democrat said the attack was both "personal" and a "political strategy", adding: "This deserves an apology."

Ahead of Mr Trump's arrival Mr Khan described the president as "just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" posed by the far-right.

In an article for The Observer the London mayor said it was "so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet" for Mr Trump and called on Theresa May to "do the right thing".

His intervention came amid controversy over comments Mr Trump had made about Boris Johnson's candidacy in the Tory leadership race and Nigel Farage's mooted role in future Brexit negotiations.

Mr de Blasio said: "He was obviously quite comfortable with Russia attempting to intervene on his behalf of the American election. He's now trying to do the same in other countries.

"This is a bad pattern for democracy; it is not the place of a foreign leader to attempt to undermine the democratic will of any people so I would say to the Conservatives: Stay away from him."

The New York mayor said issuing endorsements was "not the place of an American president" as it "engenders ill will against the people of any country that hears that kind of message".

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