Sadiq Khan welcomes Joe Biden’s “well-deserved win” in US presidential election

By Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

Sadiq Khan has welcomed Joe Biden’s “well-deserved win” in the US presidential election – while taking a final swipe at Donald Trump.

The Mayor has a fraught relationship with the outgoing president, sparring over everything from crime, racism and coronavirus to Mr Khan’s height.

The Mayor congratulated Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris in a tweet on Saturday after the Democrat ticket won Pennsylvania and secured victory in the race for the White House.

“London looks forward to working with you,” Mr Khan said. “It’s time to get back to building bridges, not walls.”

His comments appear to be a thinly veiled jab at Mr Trump, who campaigned to build a wall across the border between the US and Mexico to deter illegal immigrants.

As the Republican president’s term in office draws to a close, here are the most memorable moments in his feud with London’s Mayor.

 

Muslim travel ban

In the run-up to the 2016 US election, Mr Trump called for a “total and complete ban” on Muslims entering the country, in the wake of a terror attack on a Christmas party in California.

Mr Khan – then a candidate for Mayor of London – branded the comments “outrageous and divisive”, pointing out that as a Muslim he would be banned from the US if the plan was enacted.

“I hope Trump loses – badly,” he said.

 

IQ test

Shortly after winning the mayoral race, Mr Khan attacked Mr Trump’s “ignorant” comments about Muslims, saying a travel ban would play to extremists and backing Hillary Clinton for president.

Mr Trump responded by challenging the Mayor to an IQ test, and promising to remember his remarks.

 

London Bridge attack

After the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market in 2017, the President falsely suggested that Mr Khan had told Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed by events”.

The Mayor had in fact told residents not to be concerned by an increased police presence following the attack.

A spokesman for the Mayor said Mr Khan had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks”.

But the president claimed this was a “pathetic excuse” and accused media outlets of selling a false story.

 

Blimp wars

Ahead of President Trump’s first visit to the UK in July 2018, Mr Khan gave London protesters the green light to fly a giant balloon depicting a baby Trump in a nappy from Parliament Square.

Free speech protesters hit back with their own blimp, depicting the Mayor in a yellow bikini – in reference to a Tube advert he banned for body shaming.

The Mayor laughed off the unflattering balloon, saying his only problem with the stunt was that “I don’t really think yellow is my colour”.

 

Stone cold loser

Moments before touching down in the UK on a state visit in June last year, President Trump turned his Twitter fire power on the Mayor.

He said Mr Khan “by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London” and had been “foolishly nasty” to him, considering the importance of the US-UK relationship.

“He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” the President said.

 

Height matters

And Mr Trump was not done there – he went on to compare Mr Khan to “our very dumb and incompetent” New York mayor Bill De Blasio, “only half his height”.

Mr De Blasio said he was a “total Sadiq Khan stan”, a committed fan of the Mayor, and considered any comparison a compliment.

 

Chinese Virus

In March, Mr Khan condemned Donald Trump for labelling Covid-19 a ‘Chinese virus’. The President alleged this was “accurate” because the disease originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

But the Mayor told the London Assembly these comments were “disgraceful” and would lead to hatred and violence against East Asian communities.

 

Vote Biden

On Tuesday (November 3), as US voters headed to the polls, Mr Khan said it was “not a tough choice” as far as he was concerned.

“The choice my American friends have today on election day is a continuation of a hate-fuelled President who believes in division, or a new future for America, one filled with hope, one filled with unity,” he told LBC radio.

“My views over the last few years haven’t changed, in fact I feel a slight vindication that all the things I feared have been borne out,” he added.

Pictured top: Joe Biden, who won the US presidential election at the weekend

 


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