Trump accuses London mayor of giving 'pathetic excuse' after terror attack

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President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized London's mayor after he sought to reassure residents about a stepped-up police presence on city streets following the third deadly attack there in the past three months, arguing on Twitter for leaders to "stop being politically correct" and focus on "security for our people".

The idea that President Trump tweeted attacks at London Mayor Sadiq Khan because he is a Muslim is "utterly ridiculous", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

Trump has used the policy, stalled now in U.S. courts, as an example of the sort of toughness that he says Khan refuses to show amid terrorism attacks that are riling the United Kingdom. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Khan said there was "no cause for alarm" when referring to a visible increase in police activity on the streets of London.

Sanders also said Twitter is important so Trump can "communicate directly to the people without the bias of the media".

On Monday afternoon, the White House insisted Mr Trump was not picking a fight with the mayor - but just raising an issue of national security. Officials said assailants used a vehicle to plow into pedestrians on London Bridge and then drove to Borough Market, where people were attacked with knives. Trump posted that the U.S. Department of Justice should have pushed his "original" travel ban, or sought a tougher version of the executive order meant to temporarily bar citizens of six predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States, and not the "watered down, politically correct version" now in front of the Supreme Court.

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In response Trump challenged Khan to an IQ test during an interview on ITV. "We are not going to let Donald Trump divide our communities", Khan said to the BBC. There is no reason to be alarmed by this.

The crowd of all ages and races stood quietly for the impeccably-held minute's silence at a vigil a short walk away from the scene of Saturday's bloodshed in which seven people were killed and 48 injured. Khan's spokesman said he was too busy to respond to Trump's "ill-informed" tweet.

Following the horrific events in London at the weekend, Donald Trump thought it would a good time to have a pop at London mayor Sadiq Khan. Even conservative British politicians, such as Penny Modaunt, have tweeted in solidarity with Khan and against Trump's comments.

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent characterized the tweetstorm as "unhinged" and said the president "may have given opponents of his immigration ban more ammunition against it in court". CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked.

Khan, who belongs to the opposition Labour Party and is the first Muslim to be elected mayor of a major Western European city, is popular in London and his response to Saturday's killings has been widely praised as dignified.

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