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President Trump has certainly made his mark on his whistle-stop tour of the UK. From bulldozing May’s Brexit brief to schmoozing the special relationship, it has been a visit full of confusing contradictions. However, Mr Trump has remained resolute in his condemnation of Sadiq Khan, using his article in The Sun to openly blame him for rising crime levels. According to the US President, ‘he [Khan] has done a bad job on crime’ and the increasing levels of vicious delinquency in the UK are related to rising immigration levels.
Now as this is Donald Trump we’re talking about (a man who has been known to make up a statistic or two), it is necessary to fact-check this statement. Clearly there has been a rise in knife crime in the past year, with levels increasing by 22% throughout 2017. The seemingly endless reports of knife crimes in London over the past few months legitimises the argument that the UK has a problem that, so far, authorities have failed to solve. Yet, the issue at the heart of this is not immigration. Indeed, Harvard University’s Review of Economics and Statistics found the relationship between the arrival of foreigners and the rate of violence was almost non-existent. Furthermore, the Institute for Economics and Peace found that violent crime levels fell between 2003-2012, a period with high levels of immigration. In fact, multiple research findings refute the idea that there is a correlation between crime and immigration.
So Donald Trump got it wrong again. Big shock. Yet what is so worrying about this latest Trump tirade is not the outlandish untruths that he is telling, but rather the personal vendetta that he is doggedly pursuing against Sadiq Khan (pictured above). Most readers will remember his deliberate misquotation of Khan after the 2017 London Bridge attack. In this case he accused the Mayor of taking a lackadaisical attitude towards terrorism when in fact Sadiq Khan was attempting to alleviate public panic at increased police presence. It was easy to disprove Trump’s claims then and it isn’t difficult to invalidate his latest declaration, but what has come into sharper focus is that Donald Trump’s personal dislike of the Mayor, and more worryingly his distrust of the Muslim community, is driving his rhetoric.
Labour MP David Lammy has been most vocal in highlighting this, tweeting that Trump’s accusations spawn from his hatred ‘that London chose a Muslim Mayor’. The President’s proposed ‘Muslim Ban’, his favoured diplomacy towards Israel and his behaviour towards the Islamic community during his campaign legitimises the argument that the President does have a personal dislike of Muslims. The fact that this is now affecting foreign relations and damaging political ties indicates once again that Trump is not fit for office.
To have allowed personal racism to play into international politics is an appalling act on his part. Moreover, it is concerning that his actions against the Mayor are not being properly challenged, as by allowing this racially motivated rant to continue, the message he purports is condoned. The behaviour of the person who occupies what is arguably the most powerful position in the world should be held to account when is devalues others, whether based on religion, race, gender or any other factor.
This isn’t just another 3am tweet that we can mock. It isn’t something that we can brush under the red carpet we’ve rolled out. It is real-life racism from the leader of the free world and we are all complicit in validating it if we let it go unnoticed.