President Donald Trump indicated via Twitter Thursday night that he will not be attending the opening of the new U.S. embassy in the U.K. as expected.
His reasoning for declining has drawn criticism, as the president cast aspersions at his predecessor for what he called a "bad deal" in selling the old embassy building for "peanuts" and constructing the new one in an "off location".
An official opening involving the Prime Minister and Trump would have dispelled any concerns about the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US, and boosted hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal.
This is not the first Trump has sparked tension between the two friendly nations:
The move comes just weeks after Trump sparked fury after retweeting anti-Muslim propaganda from far-right group Britain First.
Only last week it was claimed by US author Michael Wolff, whose book Fire and Fury has laid Trump’s first year in office bare, that the President would be furious if he wasn’t invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May.
Trump's reasons for canceling his visit are likely spurious, as it was becoming increasingly clear that his arrival in the U.K. would be neither to his liking nor well-received:
However, sources say the US leader has grown increasingly annoyed that “the red carpet treatment” was being scaled back as resentment against his arrival grew.
The prospect of mass protests was raised last month after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his followers to turn out in force if Trump visited the UK to send him a "clear message".