Sadiq Khan has said he will not rise to Donald Trump’s “beastly” comments, as he urged Theresa May to stand up to the US President.
Mr Trump used an interview ahead of his UK visit to renew his personal feud with the London Mayor, attacking him over the wave of terror atrocities and accusing him of doing “a terrible job”.
Mr Khan said on Friday that he is not the one fanning the flames of the feud and he praised the “special relationship” between the UK and the US.
Asked if the row jeopardises that bond, he said: “It takes two to tango, and I’m not tweeting President Trump or saying beastly things about him.”
Mr Khan was speaking as Labour MP David Lammy accused Mr Trump of being a “racist” who “hates that London chose a Muslim mayor”.
The verbal attack on Mr Khan came after he refused to block a plan to fly a giant inflatable “Trump baby” near Parliament to coincide with mass protests surrounding the president’s visit.
Mr Khan said the Prime Minister should not be afraid to challenge the Republican property mogul, who also provoked anger by criticising her Brexit plans and praising her rival, Boris Johnson, as having the ability to be a “great prime minister”.
“I’m quite clear that both the UK and the US have a special relationship that means we stand shoulder to shoulder at times of adversity,” the Labour mayor said.
“But at times where we think the other side is not meeting the high standards we expect of each other we shouldn’t be afraid of calling them out – that’s like having a best mate.”
He added: “I think our Prime Minister should have the confidence to speak to the US President on equal terms and it’s for President Trump to say what he wants about me; I’m not going to rise to President Trump’s views.”
Mr Trump used the interview with the Sun to lay into Mr Khan, who criticised the American leader as “ill-informed” over a tweet following the London Bridge attack in June 2017.
The president also hit out at immigration into Europe, linking it with crime.
“You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job,” he added.
“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.”
Tottenham MP Mr Lammy said the president knows full well that Mr Khan is not responsible for the attacks.
“I will call it like it is. The real reason Trump blames my friend @SadiqKhan for the terror attacks last year is simple,” he tweeted.
“He hates that London chose a Muslim mayor. The President is racist. He does not deserve to meet our Queen today #StopTrump.”
Shadow equalities secretary Dawn Butler said: “Donald Trump’s comments about Sadiq Khan are as offensive as they are wrong.
“Theresa May should condemn Trump for this ugly dog-whistle politics, and apologise for Zac Goldsmith’s disgraceful London mayoral campaign, which these remarks echo.”