Donald Trump lashes out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan again in Twitter tirade

Donald Trump lashes out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan again in Twitter tirade

London: US President Donald Trump lashed out at the London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday and accused him of making a "pathetic excuse" over one of his comments following the terrorist attack that killed seven people in London on Saturday night.

Mr Khan had said on Sunday morning that people would see an increased police presence on the streets of the capital and should not be alarmed by that.

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"Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!", Mr Trump said in a Tweet. MSM referred to mainstream media.

The Tweet about Mr Khan came shortly after Mr Trump criticised the latest version of his own travel ban as "watered down" in an early morning tirade on the social media platform

President Donald Trump went on a lengthy Twitter tirade on Monday morning. President Donald Trump went on a lengthy Twitter tirade on Monday morning. Photo: AP

Mr Trump had faced a barrage of criticism on Sunday over an earlier Tweet that said: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'".

Three terrorists first drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge late on Saturday night before running into the bustling Borough Market area armed with knives. The men stabbed people indiscriminately before being shot dead by police.

Mr Khan's lengthy statement on Sunday morning, heard in full by Reuters, strongly condemned the attack and gave a number of details about what had happened and what measures were being taken in response.

"Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police, all of us need to do is make sure we're as safe as we possibly can be," Mr Khan said.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured with London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured with London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. Photo: AP

Mr Khan, who belongs to the opposition Labour Party and is the first Muslim to be elected mayor of a major Western European city, is popular in London and his response to Saturday's killings has been widely praised as dignified.

Prime Minister Theresa May, the Conservative Party leader, was asked earlier on Monday about Mr Trump's criticism of Mr Khan.

"I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it is wrong to say anything else," she said.

A YouGov poll of 1,000 Londoners published on Monday found that Mr Khan was more trusted than both Mrs May and national Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions about keeping Britain safe from terrorism.

There was no immediate response from Mr Khan to Trump's latest Tweet.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the London mayor said he was working with the police, emergency services and government to coordinate the response to the attack, and had "more important things to do" than to respond to Mr Trump. 

Trump slams 'watered down' travel ban

Mr Trump's early morning Tweets about his travel ban that also second-guessed his Justice Department's tactics in taking the case to the Supreme Court.

"The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.," Mr Trump wrote in a series of Twitter messages that started at 6.25am.

In fact, it was Mr Trump who revoked the original ban when he signed the second version on March 6 after his first executive order was blocked by courts. The latest version, restricting entry into the US by people from six predominantly Muslim countries, also has been put on hold amid arguments it unconstitutionally targets Muslims.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on June 1 to hear the government's appeal on a faster-than-usual schedule, but not quickly enough for the president.

The government has asked the court to decide by the end of June whether to hear the case and suggested requiring written briefs to be submitted before the justices start their next term in October. The solicitor general's office could have sought a quicker schedule, and Mr Trump could have ordered it to do so.

'Tougher Version'

But the government can't ask the court to impose a "much tougher version" than the ban Mr Trump ordered - the justices will be looking at the order that was signed by the president. If the president wanted to go back to the original travel ban, which was so broad it ensnared green card holders and others who had long been in the country legally, he could do so at any time by issuing a new executive order.

Mr Trump's initial travel order - issued a week after he took office - threw airports around the world into chaos and prompted an outcry from the technology industry and US universities before it was blocked in court. After signing the revised version, he later said it was needed to protect against "radical Islamic terrorists."

The Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25 upheld a nationwide halt to the policy, saying the travel ban was driven by unconstitutional religious motivations. The majority pointed to Mr Trump's campaign vow to bar Muslims from entering the country and to the special preference for religious minorities in the earlier version of the ban.

By calling the second version a "watered down, politically correct" version of his first order, Mr Trump will give new ammunition to critics who say he has never veered from what they contend is his original goal of targeting Muslims with the policy.

What to call the travel policy has been at issue, too. White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that it was "not a Muslim ban, it's not a travel ban" in a January 31 briefing when he was asked about the planned order. "It's a vetting system to keep America safe," Mr Spicer said.

But Mr Trump made clear in his Monday morning Tweets that he believed it was a ban.