2 March 2017

Sadiq Khan: People’s Question Time

In 2017 the UK Parliament was in the process of deciding whether or not President Trump should be welcomed on an official state visit.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan was particularly against the idea and made several derogatory remarks about the President - which he responded to by telling the press that ‘they were very rude comments and I will remember those comments.’

During this time I was living in London and had found myself becoming a keen supporter of Donald Trump. I was relieved when he won the US Elections and even more so when he managed to make it through his inauguration without being assassinated. I felt that the media was instrumental in shaping the public perception of Trump as a fascist, racist, sexist homophobe by nearly every reputable news source and media pundit, as well as celebrities and activists across the board.

Having done a fair amount of research on some of the claims made about Trump, I found many of them didn’t stand up to scrutiny, and I felt that most of the arguments were made based on the perception of the man rather than the real person. I also felt that the hatred directed towards him, his family and his associates was beyond vulgar. I was surprised that even my own friends and family would quite calmly tell me that he needed to be shot, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Meanwhile, I felt I had to hide my support for him at social events and at work - where I was advised to ‘keep it quiet’ for the sake of not causing arguments. I had no problem with this, however I did find it hypocritical that my colleagues were able to express their opinions about him freely while I was not. I even found myself lying to a colleague, who asked me in a very pointed way if I was a Trump supporter. I felt genuinely scared to answer him honestly, which further drove me to want to speak out - because I knew other people must have felt the same and I knew that deep down it was wrong.

I attended an open even as a member of the public, where Sadiq Khan was due to be speaking and taking questions from the audience. I was lucky enough to be given the chance to ask him the following question:

“Do you think it’s responsible for the Mayor of London to show such disrespect to the President of the United States, as well as the millions of Americans he represents - and the Londonders who you claim to represent?”

My question was met with resistance from the audience, and the London Mayor replied with the following:

‘Our relationship with America is like the relationship between a best friend. If your best friend does something wrong, you tell them.’

After the event I was approached by Kemi Badenoch - a British Conservative politician and a Member of Parliament for Saffron Walden. When she first approached me, I recoiled as I had assumed that she was going to shout at me for supporting President Trump. I told her this, which she found shocking. She told me that while she didn’t like the President herself, she agreed with me that Khan was exploiting his position as Mayor to make comments which were beyond his remit.