First there was a call to ban US presidential candidate Donald Trump from entering Britain, then he was called “stupid” and given grudging “respect” by London, but riding on his new popularity, he has now cautioned British leaders he will remember their remarks.
Prime Minister David Cameron called Trump “stupid” after his remarks about banning the entry of Muslims to the US, and new London mayor Sadiq Khan last week called him “ignorant”. But now Cameron has moderated his views about Trump, saying he deserves respect for going through the rigorous US presidential nomination process.
Trump came out fighting in an ITV television interview with celebrity presenter Piers Morgan, insisting he is not stupid, and asking Khan to “take an IQ test”. He sternly told the two British leaders: “I will remember those statements.”
He said: “When he (Khan) won I wished him well, and now I don’t care about him. Let’s see how he does, let’s see if he’s a good mayor. He doesn’t know me, hasn’t met me, doesn’t know what I’m all about. I think they were very rude statements and frankly, tell him I will remember those statements. They are very nasty statements.”
Trump also attacked Cameron’s comments: “Honestly, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship. I hope to have a good relationship with him (Cameron), but it sounds like he’s not willing to address the problem either.”
The real estate tycoon, who has several investments in Britain, added, “Number one, I’m not stupid, I can tell you that right now, just the opposite. I don’t think I’m a divisive person, I’m a unifier, unlike our president now.”
The pro-Brexit Trump used the interview to reject US President Barack Obama’s view that if Britain were to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum, it would be “at the back of the queue”.
Both Downing Street and the mayor’s office said they stood by their comments, but the former said Cameron will seek to maintain Britain’s “special relationship” with the US if Trump were elected.
Cameron’s spokesman said: “The PM has made his views on Donald Trump very clear. He disagrees with them. He continues to believe that preventing Muslims from entering the US would be divisive, stupid and wrong.
“He has also been clear that he will work with whoever is president of the United States.”
Asked whether the special relationship would continue, the spokesman said: “He (Cameron) is committed to continuing the special relationship.”
Khan’s spokesman said: “Donald Trump’s views are ignorant, divisive and dangerous – it’s the politics of fear at its worst and will be rejected at the ballot box just as it was in London.
Sadiq has spent his whole life fighting extremism, but Trump’s remarks make that fight much harder for us all – it plays straight into the extremists’ hands and makes both our countries less safe.”
He said the mayor would not accept Trump’s offer that the two should compare IQ scores. “Ignorance is not the same thing as lack of intelligence.” Khan told newspersons that he was not interested in “picking a fight” with Trump but he still believed the Republican was ignorant.