Donald Trump won’t be opening the new U.S. embassy in London in February. The president had been expected to cut the ribbon on the new $1 billion building but tweeted early Friday that he had canceled the trip because he objected to the sell-off of the old structure, “perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London.”
The U.S. State Department sold its building in tony Grosvenor Square to a Qatari real estate firm in 2009, and is relocating to a new site across the Thames, in South London. The U.S. ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson, had suggested recently that Trump would come to christen the new embassy.
Trump has an outstanding invitation from the British government for a state visit, which involves the kind of pomp and ceremony he is partial to, including a dinner with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. But the invite has been the subject of vociferous opposition – 1.8 million people signed a petition against it – and the White House has reportedly put off the visit for fear of unflattering footage of masses of protesters on the streets of London.
The BBC said Friday that British officials are still weighing options for a visit by Trump later in 2018.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the news that Trump won’t come to the British capital next month, saying his visit would have sparked big demonstrations.
U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has ordered a three-part documentary about the London embassy and the producers, Field Day Productions, have been granted access to the new building and its staff. But now it appears they will not be filming the president cutting the ribbon.