LONDON — If President Trump visits Britain in 2018, he won't be welcome in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
During a meeting last week, the Labour-held borough in southeast London called for the government to abandon plans for a Trump visit. A formal motion passed by the borough's councilors vowed that Trump “would not be welcome” in Greenwich should the trip materialize.
The council expressed “alarm at the decision of President Trump to retweet Islamophobic Propaganda” and “sadness at the President's bigoted attitude towards women and ethnic minorities.”
Denise Hyland, leader of the Greenwich council, said, “On a daily basis, we work hand in hand with residents from all communities to ensure this borough is a peaceful and welcoming place that celebrates difference and diversity, but in the case of President Trump we are willing to make an exception.”
She went on to say: “We are one of 32 London boroughs, all different, all individual but all home to people from across the world. This diversity strengthens our borough. It enriches our lives on a daily basis. And it reminds us all that we have so much more in common than divides us. As one of the most multicultural London boroughs, we are a place that has worked tirelessly to break down barriers. We have no time for people who want to build walls, when we have done so much to break them down.”
Trump's looming visit has long been a topic of heated debate in Britain.
The U.S. president sparked widespread anger and concern last month after retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a fringe far-right group called Britain First. Trump's retweeting of the videos prompted an explosion of outrage on social media. On Facebook and Twitter, hundreds pledged to greet him with protests on the streets of London should he set foot in Britain.
Prime Minister Theresa May blasted Trump for posting the inflammatory videos. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also rebuked Trump, tweeting: “It’s increasingly clear that any official visit from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed.”
Referencing Trump's behavior, Councilor Chris Kirby, who presented the motion Tuesday, said, “President Trump has regularly expressed abhorrent and aggressive views and in doing so has enabled the spread of division and hatred. We have worked incredibly hard in this borough to build strong community ties across all faiths and backgrounds — President Trump's views, attitude and policies are totally incompatible with that work.”
He continued: “As a council, we hold responsibility for more than 270,000 residents. We took the view that we could not stand by and watch the level of public debate be poisoned by the rhetoric that the president and others like him have continued to use. We have stood up and made our position clear: There is no place for aggressive, bigoted and hateful rhetoric in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.”
A petition to prevent a state visit by Trump racked up more than 1.8 million signatures earlier this year. Last month, a spokesman for May confirmed that “an invitation for a state visit has been extended and has been accepted.” The date of the visit remains unknown. (The Washington Post)