In a late Thursday tweet, President Donald Trump cited a “bad” Obama-era real estate deal as the reason he canceled a trip to London to open the new U.S. embassy there.
After multiple media outlets in the United Kingdom speculated that Trump was leaning against making the trip to open the new U.S. embassy in Nine Elms in southwest London, the president tweeted, “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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
A Thursday report in The Guardian cited U.S. government sources who suggested that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would open the new embassy in February.
The Guardian contended that Trump “backed off” of plans for the U.K. trip amid fears of protests. A date had not been set for the president’s visit.
The process of relocating the U.S. embassy to Nine Elms began in 2008 when the President George W. Bush’s State Department signed an agreement with a real estate developer to purchase the property.
“This has been a long and careful process,” then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Robert Tuttle said at the time. “We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Grosvenor Square. In the end, we realized that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable Embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility.”
The U.S. sold its embassy on Grosvenor Square in 2009 and began construction on the West Elm complex in 2013.
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