London Mayor Sadiq Khan has refused to reply to a critical Twitter post by Donald Trump Jr, saying he has been “doing more important things” in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack in Westminster,
“I’m not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr, I’ve been doing more important things over the past 24 hours," Mr Khan said.
In the aftermath of Wednesday's deadly terror attack near Parliament, Mr Trump’s eldest son on Wednesday sparked controversy when he shared a link to a six-month-old story by The Independent that quoted Mr Khan saying terror attacks were "part and parcel" of living in a global city.
“You have to be kidding me?!” Mr Trump Jr said on Twitter.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan: "I'm not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr, I've been doing more important things over the past 24h" pic.twitter.com/JGibM7vWOT— CNN (@CNN) March 23, 2017
In the September 2016 article, Mr Khan said major cities “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things”. He added: “It is my job to try to make sure that we are as safe as we can be.”
Many supporters of the Trump administration have shared the article since the Westminster attack, with some framing the interview as though it had only just happened.
You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan https://t.co/uSm2pwRTjO— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 22, 2017
Instead of focussing on the tweet, Mr Khan used his interview with CNN to speak about the ways in which London had responded to the attack.
"What I do know is that the threat level in London and across the country is severe, that means an attack is highly likely," Mr Khan said.
"Terrorists hate the fact that whether it’s New York, whether it’s London, whether it’s Paris, whether it’s Brussels, Istanbul, whether it’s Madrid — we have diverse communities living together peacefully getting on with each other, respecting each other.
"We’ve got a situation where Parliament is returning to normal today, City Hall is returning to normal today, tourists are returning to London today, business are returning to normal today — just the things that the terrorists hate.
"I’m not going to allow terrorists to divide London, to destroy our way of life. We haven’t in the past, not currently, not in the future."
In a later interview with the BBC's Today programme, Mr Khan again refused to comment on Mr Trump's son's criticism.
When pressed about the remarks he made in September, he insisted that terrorism should never be accepted.
“We must never accept terrorists being successful, we must never accept that terrorists can destroy our life or destroy the way we lead our lives,” he told host Michelle Hussain.
“We must never accept a situation where people try and divide Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs from each other or from those who are not members of organised faith.
"We must never accept a situation where people incite hatred against people because of the faith they belong to.”
The London mayor, who has organised a vigil in Trafalgar Square to commemorate the victims of the attack, suggested people want to attack London because its citizens do not merely tolerate each other regardless of religion but “respect, embrace and celebrate" one another.