Based on his isolationist views on foreign policy, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump isn’t making many friends overseas. Even still, the presumptive Republican nominee for president on Monday made some fiery comments that don’t bode especially well for his prospective relationship with one of America’s closest allies.
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday, Trump was asked about British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has called Trump’s prospective ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. “divisive, stupid and wrong.”
“It looks like we are not going to have a very good relationship,” Trump said “Who knows, I hope to have a good relationship with him, but he’s not willing to address the problem either,” Trump said, referring to Islamist extremism.
Cameron made his comments in December after Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until [the country] can figure out what is going on.” The declaration came after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California by two ISIS sympathizers. Last week, Trump adviser George Papadopoulos told the Times of London that Cameron should issue an apology for his remarks. Through a spokesperson, Cameron refused, saying there are no plans to retract the statement.
In his interview Monday, Trump also fired back at comments made by London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, further fueling an ongoing trans-Atlantic war of words.
Shortly after winning the May 5 London mayoral election, Khan told Time magazine that he would visit the U.S. before January, “in case Donald Trump wins.”
“If Donald Trump becomes the president I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors and swap ideas,” he said.
Trump, meanwhile, told The New York Times said he was happy to see Khan’s victory. “If he does a good job, and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing,” Trump said. The billionaire businessman also suggested that Khan would be exempt from his proposed ban on Muslims.
Khan dismissed Trump’s concession. “Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both of our countries less safe—it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of extremists. Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam—London has proved him wrong,” he said in a statement.
In his interview with Good Morning Britain, Trump called Khan’s remarks “rude” and “nasty.” Trump said: “I think it’s ignorant for him to say that…He never met me; he doesn’t know what I’m all about.”
Trump then dismissed the notion that his campaign—especially his comments about Muslims—is alienating.
“I’m not a divisive person. I’m a unifier, unlike our president now. When I made the statements [about banning Muslims] six months ago, there was clamor only by the politicians,” Trump said. “Millions of people were calling in, saying Donald Trump is right. People that live in Great Britain; people that live all over the world were saying Donald Trump is right.”
Well, there were least 585,000 Brits who thought Donald Trump was wrong. A petition to ban the White House hopeful from the U.K. garnered half a million signatures following his pledge to keep Muslims out of the U.S. British politicians debated the petition in January but decided it would bar free speech.