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Donald Trump: London mayor Sadiq Khan a 'disaster' over spate of violence

Updated 5:15 PM ET, Sun June 16, 2019

London (CNN) - Donald Trump has attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan over a spate of violence in the British capital, branding the politician a "disaster" and "national disgrace."

The US President's remarks came in response to a series of attacks in London that left three people dead in the space of 24 hours.

An 18-year-old male was stabbed to death in Wandsworth, south London, on Friday afternoon. This was followed by the death of a 19-year-old male, who was shot dead only minutes later in south-east London.

A male in his 30s was also fatally stabbed in the borough of Tower Hamlets, east London, on Saturday afternoon.

Trump apportioned blame to Khan, a member of the opposition Labour Party, for the attacks, retweeting a post by the right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins. Hopkins said the attacks represented "Khan's Londonistan," appearing to blame Muslims for the violence.

"London needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster -- will only get worse," the President wrote in one Tweet.

"He is a national disgrace who is destroying the City of London," he added in another.

Contrary to Trump's tweet, Khan is the mayor for the whole metropolitan area of London, rather than the City of London, which is a local government district comprising the historic center and central business district of London.

The spike in crime in many parts of the UK has also been blamed in part on successive cuts to police funding and officer numbers by the governing Conservative Party; a policy implemented when Theresa May was home secretary.

Khan did not respond in person to Trump's criticism, but his spokesman said the mayor was "focusing on supporting London's communities and over-stretched emergency services."

"He has been in regular touch with senior Met police officers last night and throughout the day. His thoughts are with the victims' families. He is not going to waste his time responding to this sort of tweet."

Trump's remarks were nevertheless attacked by the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said it was "absolutely awful" to see that the US President had used the stabbings to attack Khan.

"Sadiq Khan is rightly supporting the police to do their job, while Katie Hopkins spreads hateful and divisive rhetoric," he wrote on Twitter. "They seek to divide at a time we need to come together."

Six people were arrested following the fatal stabbing in Wandsworth; two of which have been charged and four have been released under investigation, the Met Police said. A further three individuals were arrested on suspicion of murder following the shooting in south-east London, while no arrests have yet been made in connection with the Tower Hamlets stabbing.

Scathing tweets

Trump's remarks are the latest in a series of jibes against the London mayor. Their relationship soured in the aftermath of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack, when Trump blasted Khan's response to the emergency.

"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed,'" Trump wrote on Twitter at the time.

A spokesman for Khan responded, stating that the mayor had "more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet."

Khan has since repeatedly called for Trump's official visits to the UK to be canceled, and London's City Hall issued permission for a giant inflatable effigy of Trump to be flown over Parliament Square during planned protests.

Trump renewed his attacks on Khan on the eve of his state visit to the UK in June, telling The Sun newspaper that the mayor had done a "very bad job on terrorism."

He also sent a scathing tweet minutes before he touched down in London, accusing Khan of having done a "terrible job" as mayor, and being "foolishly nasty to the visiting President of the United States."

"He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me," he wrote. "Khan reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job -- only half his height."


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