Trump Targets London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan. How Fair Are His Criticisms?

LONDON — President Trump opened the second stage of his European tour, in Britain, with a blistering attack on two of his favorite targets, Prime Minister Theresa May and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, even before he touched down in the country.

In an interview timed to coincide with his arrival, he criticized Mrs. May’s plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, and called Mr. Khan weak on crime and terrorism.

The attacks, particularly on Mr. Khan, an outspoken critic of the president, should come as little surprise. Mr. Trump issued a sharp critique of Germany before this week’s NATO summit meeting, and he has dismissed Britain’s National Health Service as “going broke and not working” and called Mr. Khan’s response to last year’s London Bridge terrorist attack “pathetic.”

But how fair are his criticisms? Following is a look at what Mr. Trump said and how it compares with facts and expert analysis.

Without doubt, he said, the growing crime rate was the result of “years of austerity coming home to roost,” with fewer police officers on patrol and a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the city.

‘I think he’s done a terrible job on terrorism’

That seems unfair, too.

Terrorism is a national and international issue, and Mr. Khan is a local politician.

‘You take a look at your hospital in London, you know what I’m talking about. With all of the horrible things going on there.’

That is misleading.

Many Londoners would recognize that as a reference to Royal London Hospital, “a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds,” as the president said in a recent speech.

“They don’t have guns. They have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital,” he added.

He made these comments in reaction to an interview with a surgeon at the hospital, one of the busiest in the city.

But the surgeon, Martin Griffiths, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s comments had missed his point and invited the president to visit and “discuss our success in violence reduction in London.”

The hospital said it treated stabbing wounds on a daily basis, but that the overall number in the first quarter — 163 — was about the same as last year.

A spokesperson for the hospital added that “as one of London’s four major trauma centers and home of London’s Air Ambulance, we will receive more patients who are at major risk of loss of life or limb than most other emergency departments.”

Nothing was said about blood being on the floors or walls, the hospital said.

The hospital treated 23 gunshot wounds during the same period, double the number in the first quarter of last year.

“That surgeon was talking about knife wounds in particular,” Mr. Wilson, the professor of criminology said. “The only comfort that one can draw from that interview is that he wasn’t discussing gunshot wounds.”

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