London Mayor Sadiq Khan castigated Donald Trump on Saturday, comparing him to 20th century fascist dictators, a day before the US president was set to arrive in the United Kingdom on a state visit.
Khan spotlighted controversial Trump administration actions and policies, including the president’s comments following the 2017 Charlottesville protests, the separation of children from their parents at the Mexican border and the Muslim travel ban, as examples of a dangerous international trend.
“Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than seventy years,” Khan wrote in an op-ed published in The Guardian newspaper.
He compared Trump to mid-20th century European dictators, 1970s military juntas, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korean head Kim Jong-un.
The London mayor said Trump, alongside Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, France’s Marine Le Pen and the UK’s Nigel Farage, were employing tactics used by 20th century fascists, but with new methods, and warned that they were gaining ground.
“They are constructing lies to stoke up fear and to attack the fundamental pillars of a healthy democracy — equality under the law, the freedom of the press and an independent justice system. Trump is seen as a figurehead of this global far-right movement. Through his words and actions, he has given comfort to far-right political leaders,” Khan said.
He shot down UK politicians, especially conservatives, who said the UK needed to welcome Trump to preserve the country’s economic and military ties with the US.
“Rather than bestowing Trump with a grand platform of acceptability to the world, we should be speaking out and saying that this behaviour is unacceptable – and that it poses a grave threat to the values and principles we have fought hard to defend – often together – for decades,” Khan said. “America is like a best friend, and with a best friend you have a responsibility to be direct and honest when you believe they are making a mistake.”
Khan called on Theresa May to publicly condemn Trump and his agenda, saying that “history teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power and the risk of failing to defend our values from the rise of the far right.”
Trump is scheduled to arrive in London on Monday for a three-day visit.
He has already stirred controversy ahead of the trip by backing Boris Johnson for prime minister after Theresa May steps down, criticizing May’s handling of Brexit negotiations, and calling Meghan Markle “nasty.”