by J. Krishna Moorti:
President Trump slammed Obama Administration for having sold “best located and finest mission for peanuts.” For this reason President Trump cancelled a trip to London, scheduled for next month, to open a new embassy. He said he did not want to endorse an Obama-era decision to move out of the old one.
With more than a year in office without a visit to London, the cancellation is a further blow to relations between the allies. However, the decision to cancel was prudent, given that many Britons had vowed to protest against the president, saying they view him as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on a range of issues.
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!”
The decision to acquire a new London embassy site on the south bank of the Thames was announced in 2008, under President Bush, along with the plan to sell the old Grosvenor Square site in upscale Mayfair. In 2009, the embassy sold to Qatari Diar Real Estate, a wing of the Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund that plans to turn the building into residences and a hotel.
The building’s historical significance limits changes that can be made to the building’s exterior.
Woody Johnson, President Trump’s appointed ambassador to Britain, told reporters last month that moving to the new site at Nine Elms reflected the global outlook.
“The new embassy is not just bigger, it is better and capable of meeting the complex challenges of the 21st century and beyond. It is the most secure, hi-tech and environmentally friendly embassy that the United States has ever built,” He indicated that this is not just a new office; it signifies a new era of friendship between the two countries.