Donald Trump’s Obsession with Sadiq Khan
Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan haven’t had a smooth relationship, it has to be said. It’s no secret that the two public figures don’t have much love for each other. They have a history of controversial exchanges, dating back to their respective ascendancies to power in 2016. Such exchanges have been over the travel ban, terrorist attacks in London, and more recently knife crime; Chris York from The Huffington illustrates this quite well. Whilst Trump has not been afraid to describe the Mayor of London however he likes, including calling him a “stone cold loser”and a “national disgrace”,Khan has made his own feelings well-known, more recently describing him as a “six-foot-three child in the White House”.
It is quite strange to see the US President take such an interest, a negative interest mind you, in the Mayor of London. Some might argue that he’s obsessed, that’s certainly the view Sadiq Khan himself holds. Trump even retweeted the words of Katie Hopkins, who on the issue of knife-related murders described London as “stab-city” and “Khan’s Londonistan”, not the first time the presidenthas used social media to acknowledge far-right or otherwise inflammatory messages.
I would say it is quite strange because for one, we’re talking about the Mayor of London. A person in charge of a major city, but in a completely different country. Whilst he has made several trips to the country already and engages regularly with other British politicians such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, none of this appears to top the level of interest the president has in Sadiq Khan. Secondly, and most importantly, Trump has failed to realise the fact that his own country has far-worse statistics on issues like crime. It is true that knife crime has been increasing under Khan’s tenure (though it also did towards the end of Boris Johnson’s time in office), homicide rates are much, much, higher in US cities. Crime rates have, in general, been in decline in the US, such as in cities like New York. But the number of deaths as a result of weapons, particularly guns, are still high. And Trump doesn’t want to acknowledge that the government ultimately funds the police in London and elsewhere through budgets. And according to Full Fact, the “number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by over 20,000 between March 2010 and March 2018”. Therefore, the blame for London’s crime rates being on the increase should also be levelled at the government, but President Trump has so far failed to place any blame on them.
So, let’s ask the big questions – is Trump obsessed with Khan? And if so, is it because of racism? Well, judging by the persistent exchanges between the two men, and Trump’s particular controversies such as retweeting a very offensive post by Katie Hopkins leads me to believe that there is an obsession, and it is because of racism. Also, let’s not ignore the fact that Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, was excluded from a state banquet during Trump’s state visit. Javid called it “odd”. The main criticism of Trump on this issue is whether it’s Islamophobic, but it’s also interesting that the most powerful, non-white, figure in government didn’t get an invite in the mail. Don’t think that these are necessarily isolated incidents. Throughout his whole career, Trump has either been racist, or has been complicit in racism, ever since the 1970s. He’s called Mexican immigrants “rapists”, he’s called for a travel ban on Muslims from certain countries coming to the US, and even stated in 2017 that 15,000 immigrants coming from Haiti “all have AIDS”.
I’m sorry, but Trump is very obsessed with Sadiq Khan, and quite frankly Khan doesn’t deserve the criticism he’s received. Whilst as Mayor of London, he is partly responsible for some of the results we’ve seen with regards to knife crime, Trump has deliberately failed to add nuance to the story – such as the questionable marks on Boris Johnson’s record as Mayor of London, and the failure to criticise the British government for not adding more funding to the police in the capital and across the country in their efforts to tackle knife crime, as well as crime in general. All the while, crime is still a problem in the US, and is much higher in US cities compared to London.
Is this because of race? Perhaps. I’ll let you make your mind up.