Trump confirms he canceled a February trip to Britain, cites embassy real estate

Trump will not attend the ribbon-cutting of the new U.S. embassy in London
(Image credit: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday night, President Trump announced on Twitter that he has called off a February visit to Great Britain, explaining he refused to cut the ribbon at the new U.S. embassy in London, built "in an off location" by the Obama administration.

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British news outlets had already reported that Trump had canceled the trip, which along with the embassy ribbon-cutting was expected to include a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. Trump had accepted the invitation but the White House had never "nailed down the details of the trip," says BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale. BBC News also says Trump reportedly "wanted to delay a potential visit amid concerns about large-scale protests," and he may visit later in the year.

U.S. Ambassador Woody Johnson said in December he "absolutely" expected Trump to visit Britain in the new year, and he gushed about the new London embassy, calling it "a signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better." The U.S. decided to build the new embassy out of security concerns and because its staff had quadrupled since the current U.S. embassy in Grosvenor Square was built in the 1950s. Johnson called the $1 billion price tag a "bargain" compared with the $1.6 billion stadium he built for his NFL team, the New York Jets.

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The new U.S. embassy "sits on a bend in the River Thames and has sweeping views across London to the Houses of Parliament," Britain's Telegraph says. The Netherlands and China are considering moving their embassies there, too.

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