President Donald Trump announced Thursday he canceled a visit to London to open the United States’ new British embassy.
Trump said on Twitter he canceled his visit because the U.S. embassy’s former location was sold at a “bad deal.” He was scheduled to visit the British capital in February to open the new U.S. embassy there.
“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. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Trump wrote.
In 2009, the Obama State Department agreed to sell the Grosvenor Square building where the U.S. embassy was located to the Qatar royal family. The sale was made because the British government wanted to list the building as one of historical importance, which would have made renovations and a potential sale more difficult to do.
In November 2016, the Qatar royal family won approval from London officials to turn the building into 137-room luxury hotel.
While Trump blamed the embassy real estate deal for his decision not to visit the capital of one of the United States’ closest allies, various reports indicate planned protests contributed to the decision.
Facebook groups organizing for Trump’s planned February visit called for one of the largest protests Britain had ever seen.
“He will be met by a million of us attempting a citizen’s arrest of him for incitement of racial hatred,” one group said, according to the Independent.