Trump Is An ‘Asteroid of Awfulness,’ U.K. Labour Party SaysBy
Emily Thornberry calls U.S. president ‘a danger’ and ‘racist’
Trump canceled plans to open new embassy in London next month
Donald Trump is an “asteroid of awfulness,” said the U.K. Labour Party’s spokeswoman on foreign affairs, Emily Thornberry, deepening the rift between Britain’s main opposition and the U.S. president.
“He is an asteroid of awfulness that has fallen on this world,” Thornberry said in an interview on BBC television’s "Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday. “I think that he is a danger and I think that he is a racist.”
Thornberry’s remarks came after a week in which Trump called off a planned London visit next month to open the new U.S. Embassy, saying he didn’t like the deal to move the mission. He also was reported to have described Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries,” a comment that may have spurred Thornberry’s “racist” accusation. Trump has denied using the language.
The comments may have greater significance because Thornberry would be foreign secretary if Labour wins the next general election. While no vote is due until 2022, Prime Minister Theresa May runs a minority administration that’s vulnerable to defeats and the possibility of an early election. While May herself hasn’t had the easiest relationship with Trump, she’s relying on the U.S. as a partner for a future trade deal once Britain leaves the EU.
“We’ve got a very strong, longstanding, hugely important relationship with the United States,” Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis said on Sunday in an interview on the same BBC show. “We’ve got to make sure we’re developing and continuing that relationship beyond any of us as individuals.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn amplified Thornberry’s attack and said if Trump had visited, “after his comments over the weekend about other countries, particularly in Africa, that the reaction against him would be huge.” He declined to say whether the relationship with the U.S. is Britain’s most important, pointing to the European Union, China, India and organizations like the United Nations as also important.
“The biggest disappointment of Donald Trump is, well apart from his endless offensive remarks about women, about minorities and about different faiths, is his failure to support international institutions like the United Nations and UNESCO,” Corbyn said.
Trump also has a poor relationship with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, one of Labour’s most prominent politicians. The two men have traded criticisms on Twitter. After Trump called off the visit, Khan said Trump “would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests” if he hadn’t canceled the trip. “It appears that President Trump got the message.”
Comments such as Sadiq’s don’t help Britain, Lewis said.
May has also clashed with Trump, notably after he re-tweeted three videos made by a far-right British group in November. She’s faced repeated criticisms domestically for offering to host the U.S. president on a state visit shortly after his inauguration a year ago.