In a taste of what Trump-brand international diplomacy might look like, this morning presumptive GOP nominee for the presidency Donald Trump called the newly-elected mayor of London “ignorant” and challenged him to an IQ test.
'Tell him I will remember those statements…they're rude and ignorant.' Donald Trump hits back at new London Mayor Sadiq Khan. @GMB
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 16, 2016
Trump initially said he was “happy” at Khan’s victory — and that the mayor could be an exception to his proposed Muslim ban. In addition to Khan, Trump has previously said that his rich Muslim friends would also be exempted from the ban, and even that the ban was “just a suggestion.” When first describing the illegal and controversial proposal, however, Trump insisted it would apply to “everyone” — even Muslim Americans currently living abroad.
Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe
Khan, who hit back at the tactics deployed against him during the campaign as “straight out of the Donald Trump playbook,” refused Trump’s offer of an exemption and instead invited the candidate to London so he could challenge his views on Islam.
“I want Donald Trump to come to London so I can introduce myself to him as a mainstream Muslim, very, very comfortable with Western liberal values, but also introduce him to hundreds of thousands, dare I say millions of Muslims in this country, who love being British, love being Western,” said Khan.
Khan also suggested that Trump’s fear-mongering is dangerous and plays into the hands of terrorists.
“Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe — it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays in to the hands of the extremists,” he said.
Trump — who loves to dish out criticism but can’t seem to take it — rescinded his congratulations. The candidate, who has advocated for killing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood, stood by a blanket statement that “a lot of” the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims hate America, and made up stories about British Muslims not reporting terrorists, says he’s upset that Khan has judged him prematurely.
“He doesn’t know me, hasn’t met me, doesn’t know what I’m all about. I think they were very rude statements and, frankly, tell him I will remember those statements. They are very nasty statements,” he said. “When he won I wished him well. Now, I don’t care about him.”
In the same interview, Trump, who brags that he has the “best words” but according to linguists typically speaks with the grammar of an 11-year-old, insisted that he is “not stupid” and challenged Khan to an IQ test. But as Khan’s spokesman pointed out, an IQ test actually has little to do with the mayor’s accusations of ignorance.
Sadiq Khan's spokesman hits back at Trump call for IQ test: 'Ignorance is not the same thing as lack of intelligence.'
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) May 16, 2016
Trump also warned that, if elected, he would be unlikely to have a good relationship with David Cameron, who, as the prime minister of the UK, leads one of the United States’ closest allies. Cameron has called Trump’s Muslim ban “divisive, stupid, and wrong.”
Trump’s public, personal feud with Khan and Cameron is a troubling example of how the candidate might, if elected, interact with international politicians. International coverage of his candidacy has called him everything from “the American nightmare” to the “World’s Most Dangerous Man.” Though he has found some allies in Russia and Europe’s xenophobic far-right, most of the world is watching the American election in shock and bemusement.
Khan’s accusations, though particularly direct, are by no means unusual — yet Trump’s response was to directly imply that a high-profile, barrier-breaking politician is stupid.
Trump’s bullish response to criticism is also dangerous. As Trump doubles down on hateful rhetoric, xenophobic and racist attacks across the country have risen. Polls also show that his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his proposal of a Muslim ban are increasingly popular among Americans of both parties.
He doesn’t know me, hasn’t met me, doesn’t know what I’m all about
Experts, however, side with Sadiq Khan. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook has said that the Muslim ban “bolsters ISIL’s narrative.” Economic Intelligence Unit, a British research organization, ranked a Trump presidency in its top 10 global risks for a number of reasons, including that his “militaristic tendencies” could be a recruiting tool for Jihadi groups.
A spokesman for Khan immediately responded to Trump’s remarks:
“Donald Trump’s views are ignorant, divisive and dangerous — it’s the politics of fear at its worst and will be rejected at the ballot box just as it was in London.
Sadiq has spent his whole life fighting extremism, but Trump’s remarks make that fight much harder for us all — it plays straight into the extremists’ hands and makes both our countries less safe”