Want the best from VICE News in your inbox? Sign up here.
Minutes before Air Force One touched down in London on Monday morning, Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter rant at the city’s mayor, comparing him to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and calling him a “stone cold loser.”
Trump blasted Sadiq Khan for being “foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom.”
Trump then insulted the London mayor’s physical stature, while misspelling his name:
“Kahn 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.”
Trump’s attack is likely a reaction to Khan’s decision to allow protesters to fly a large "Trump Babay" balloon over London on Tuesday depicting the U.S. president as a baby dressed in only a diaper.
Protestors have raised over £30,000 ($38,000) to fund the balloon’s flight. The blimp was also flown over London during Trump’s last visit to the city in July 2018. Khan announced Sunday they would be permitted to fly it again on this trip.
Large protests are taking place throughout the U.K. during Trump’s three-day visit, with the main demonstration scheduled for central London on Tuesday morning.
Khan has been a consistent critic of Trump and his policies. Ahead of the visit Khan, said the U.K. shouldn't "roll out the red carpet" for the U.S president.
Monday’s schedule mainly includes the ceremonial aspects of the visit, including a tour of Westminster Abbey, tea with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and a state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition party, will boycott the banquet in protest at the president's “racist and misogynistic rhetoric.”
Khan isn't the only person Trump angered in the U.K. before he even touched down:
- In an interview with the Sun, Trump called the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle “nasty” when he was asked about comments she made about him. Trump subsequently denied he called Markle nasty, but as many people have pointed out, he made his comments on tape.
- Trump broke with diplomatic convention by wading into U.K. politics, saying former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would be an “excellent” choice as next leader of the Conservative Party. Trump was greeted by the current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is Johnson’s closest rival, when he landed at Stansted Airport on Monday morning.
- He also added to the political turbulence ahead of his visit by suggesting that Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, should lead U.K. negotiations with the EU over the country’s departure from the bloc. He urged the U.K. to push ahead with a no deal Brexit — something experts say will cause chaos across the country.
Trump continued tweeting after he landed in the U.K, first claiming his trade war with China is pocketing the U.S. billions and then lamenting the fact that CNN was the only thing available to watch on TV.
“After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop,” Trump tweeted.
Meanwhile, outside the U.S. embassy in central London, Amnesty International kicked off the week's protests by unfurling a series of banners criticizing Trump and his agenda. “Trump has presided over two and a half years of utterly shameful policies,” Kate Allen, U.K. director of the human rights group, said.