Although President Trump welcomed an offer from Prime Minister Theresa May to visit London last January, he rescinded his acceptance on Thursday. Trump blamed his change of heart on the fact that he had been asked to attend the opening ceremony for the new U.S. embassy there. After he tweeted about his decision late on Thursday, many on social media took the opportunity to make fun of Trump for his embassy excuse.
"Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts,' only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars," he wrote on Twitter. "Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!"
In fact, the United States never fully owned the current embassy building, which is located in the city's upscale Mayfair neighborhood. The freehold — i.e. permanent tenure — is held by Hugh Grosvenor, the Seventh Duke of Westminster, while the long leasehold interest — i.e. lease with a definite end date — was owned by the United States and then sold to a Qatari investment group in 2009.
And while the Obama administration did close the sale at the very beginning of President Obama's tenure, the deal was initiated under President Bush. The Bush administration decided that the old embassy didn't offer enough security against terrorist threats and that a new building could be constructed to safer standards.
Many people didn't buy Trump's excuse for deciding not to go to London and instead blamed the fact that widespread protests were expected to occur during his visit. British politician Ed Miliband replied to Trump's tweet by writing, "Nope it’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message." The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, concurred, tweeting out the statement: "It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city's values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance."
Other Twitter reactions were less serious and poked fun of the petty way that Trump worded his announcement. Here are some of the best ones.
Turning Down Daenerys
Clarke lives in Dalston, a district in the eastern part of London.
"Hanging With Commoners"
This really would not be a shocking reason for Trump to decide not to go. He's used to living in environments of jaw-dropping wealth — Mar-a-Lago has even been called a "palace" itself.
Obligatory Beatles Reference
Ringo did, however, agree to follow Trump around singing "Fool on the Hill."
It's My Parents' Fault
This one's especially good.
Because There's No Coronation
Well sure, that's gotta hurt.
Puss In Boots
Worse news than learning about the Tooth Fairy. This references the old British folk story, "Dick Whittington and His Cat," in which a young boy rises out from poverty by selling his cat and becomes London's Lord Mayor. The tale is often conflated with "Puss in Boots," a European fairytale about a cat who uses deception to rise in the ranks of society (and wears boots).
In case you don't follow sports, Arsenal is a football (i.e. soccer) club that's based in London. Arsenal's currently considering signing one of its star players, Alexis Sanchez, to Manchester United.
An Old Grievance
Trump's a big fan of Shakespeare and this has been bothering him for some time.
Straight Up Absurdism
Makes about as much sense as some of the things that Trump says.
The new embassy, which is located on the South Bank of the Thames, will open on Tuesday. It doesn't look like Trump will be there.