After Saturday’s terrorist attack in London, which left seven dead, Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a television interview that there was “no reason to be alarmed” by increased police presence in the city. President Donald Trump promptly twisted the Labour politician’s to make it seem like Khan thinks there’s “no reason to be alarmed” about terrorism in general.
The mayor’s office responded to that tweet with a withering statement: “The Mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services, and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city. He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police—including armed officers—on the streets.” This clearly upset Trump, who tweeted on Monday:
Khan, who hasn’t been shy to call Trump out for his ignorance in the past, represents everything the president despises. As London’s first Muslim mayor, Khan is the leader of a cosmopolitan global city who stands unabashedly for openness and multiculturalism. And his call for calm and vigilance in the face of terror is precisely the opposite reaction we’ve seen from Trump, who uses terrorist attacks to stoke fear and anger and push for regressive, draconian policies.
Khan isn’t the only European leader to rankle Trump in recent days. French President Emmanuel Macron gave Trump a tough, white-knuckled handshake when they met in Brussels—“a show of alpha-male fortitude,” The Washington Post declared—and then bragged about it to a French publication. “Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump, aides said,” the Post reported. “A few days later, Trump got his revenge. He proclaimed from the Rose Garden, ‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.’”
Trump probably thinks he got the last laugh against Khan and Macron. That’s the tragedy of this petty, bullying presidency.