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Trump slams 'lousy location' of London embassy, ahead of summer visit

President Donald Trump has renewed his criticism of the new US embassy in London, ahead of a planned visit to the UK ...

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 6:02 AM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 6:02 AM

President Donald Trump has renewed his criticism of the new US embassy in London, ahead of a planned visit to the UK in July.

The billion-dollar embassy moved from its long-standing site in Grosvenor Square, central London, to its new home at Nine Elms, south of the city, in January.

But during a rally in Michigan on Saturday, Trump criticized the move. "We had the best site in all of London," he told supporters, before adding that now, "We have an embassy in a lousy location."

Trump told the rally that the previous site in Grosvenor Square was "sold for like 250 million" -- but that organizers "spent all of that money, plus a lot more, to build a new embassy in a lousy location."

His comments come ahead of a planned visit to the UK on July 13, Trump's first trip to Britain since becoming President, the White House and Downing Street announced last week.

It will not be a state visit -- a move welcomed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who told British talk show host Robert Peston on Sunday that he was glad "the red carpet will not be rolled out" for Trump.

Trump and Khan have frequently traded barbs in the past, notably when the US President appeared to misconstrue a statement by the mayor in response to a terror attack in London last year.

Trump's visit follows months of back-and-forth negotiations over the trip, with Trump canceling a previous visit to London in January to officially open the new embassy.

"I was supposed to cut the ribbon," said Trump at Saturday's rally, before blaming the embassy deal on the Obama and Bush administrations.

In fact, the decision to move out of the Grosvenor Square building in the high-end Mayfair district was taken under the Bush administration in 2008, principally because the building was proving harder to secure in an age of terrorist threats -- and also, in small part at least, because the US government did not wholly own it.

British property law historically allows the ground underneath buildings to be held by people and entities other than the owners of the bricks and mortar above. In this case, the land is owned by the Duke of Westminster, whose property empire controls much of the land in central London, and is leased back to the US at a nominal -- or "peppercorn" -- rent.

"We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Grosvenor Square," then-Ambassador Robert Tuttle said.

"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 historic Mayfair site is now set to be converted into a luxury hotel by Qatari investors.

From concrete to glass

The new embassy is a world away from its former concrete home, which was designed by Finnish-American modernist architect Eero Saarinen.

The 12-storey glass cube occupies an almost five-acre site, in a former industrial area south of the River Thames.

Security requirements are tight -- it is set back 100 feet from the street and boasts a semi-circular pond as a security measure.

Designed by Philadelphia architecture firm KieranTimberlake, the embassy houses around 800 staff and is expected to receive 1,000 visitors daily.

The building was paid for by selling other US government properties in London.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
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Newton370875
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Stone350860
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Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
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Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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