British Prime Minister Candidate Defends Trump Quote-Tweeting Far-Right Commentator to Attack London Mayor

A British candidate for prime minister defended President Donald Trump after the U.S. president stirred controversy by quote-tweeting a far-right commentator who referred to London as "Stab-City."

Over the weekend, Trump quote-tweeted a post from far-right figure Katie Hopkins, who was commenting on a number of recent stabbings in London. Three people have died after being stabbed since Friday. One teenager was fatally stabbed on Friday. A another man was fatally stabbed on Saturday and a third died after being stabbed on Monday.

"This is Khan's Londonistan," Hopkins wrote on Saturday, referring to London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Trump retweeted the post, adding "LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster - will only get worse!"

While other politicians rebuked the U.S. president, British Foreign Affairs Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is running for Prime Minister, said on Monday that he agreed with the message, if not the phrasing, of Trump's comments.

"I wouldn't use those words myself. But the sentiment is enormous disappointment that we have a mayor of London who has completely failed to tackle knife crime and has spent more time on politics than the actual business of making London safer, and in that I 150% agree with the president," Hunt said.

Others, including Home Secretary Sajid Javid, criticized Trump's comments about the violence.

Hunt did not directly address the controversy stemming from his support but later appeared to shift his stance, retweeting a post from Parliament member Sayeeda Warsi about Hunt sayinghe "abhors Katie Hopkins, her disgusting views and everything she stands for." A second post from Warsi said that Hunt "believes the term Londonistan is offensive and would never endorse sentiments that try and frame London's knife crime challenge as a racial or religious phenomenon."

Offenses involving knives and other sharp instruments increased 17 percent in the year prior to March 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics. Police have said that the number of incidents involving such weapons have increased over the last four years and are more frequent in urban areas. However, the rate of homicide in London is vastly below that in many U.S. cities.

Hunt
Foreign secretary and Conservative leader candidate Jeremy Hunt walks past a picket line of striking cleaners outside his department on June 12. Guy Smallman/Getty Images

Despite initially refraining from commenting on Trump's claims, Khan rebuked Trump on Monday.

"It's for Donald Trump to explain his tweets, not for me, but it's remarkable that you've got the president of the U.S.A. amplifying the tweets of a far-right activist, amplifying a racist tweet," Khan said. "He's now a poster boy for the far-right movement and that should cause us huge concern."

In 2015, when Trump proposed a ban to prevent Muslims from entering the U.S., Khan deemedthe remarks "outrageous." The two have since publicly aired disagreements, with Khan calling for the British government to cancel Trump's state visit in 2017 and the U.S. president critiquing the policies of the London mayor. Khan is far from the only citizen in the U.K. who have publicly criticized Trump's views, and protesters trailed the U.S. president during his visit to the country last year and earlier this month.