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Trump accuses London Mayor Khan of "pathetic excuse" over attack statement

Reuters logo Reuters 5/06/2017
London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, left, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, participate in a media conference at London Bridge in London, Monday, June 5, 2017. © AP Photo/Alastair Grant London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, left, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, participate in a media conference at London Bridge in London, Monday, June 5, 2017.

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday of making a "pathetic excuse" over one of his comments following the attack that killed seven people in London on Saturday night.

Khan had said on Sunday morning that people would see an increased police presence on the streets of the capital and should not be alarmed by that.

"Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!," Trump said in a Tweet. MSM referred to mainstream media.

Trump had faced a barrage of criticism on Sunday over an earlier Tweet that said: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'."

Three jihadis first drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge late on Saturday before running into the bustling Borough Market area where they slit peoples' throats and stabbed them indiscriminately. All three attackers were shot dead by police.

Khan's lengthy statement on Sunday morning, heard in full by Reuters, strongly condemned the attack and gave a number of details about what had happened and what measures were being taken in response.

"Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police, all of us need to do is make sure we're as safe as we possibly can be," Khan said.

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.

Prime Minister Theresa May, the Conservative Party leader, was asked earlier on Monday about Trump's criticism of Khan.

"I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it is wrong to say anything else," she said.

A YouGov poll of 1,000 Londoners published on Monday found that Khan was more trusted than both May and national Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions about keeping Britain safe from terrorism.

There was no immediate response from Khan to Trump's latest Tweet.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the London mayor said he was working with the police, emergency services and government to coordinate the response to the attack, and had "more important things to do" than to respond to Trump.

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