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Saturday night, President Donald Trump responded to the London Bridge and market attacks with solidarity for London and the United Kingdom.
Sunday morning, Trump had harsh words for the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’ " Trump wrote June 4.
The London mayor did use those words in a morning-after news conference about the van and stabbing rampage. But in no way, shape or form did Khan say them about the terrorist attack.
When Khan said there was "no reason to be alarmed," he was talking about the increased police presence around the city that residents and tourists would notice.
Khan condemned the attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market.
"I am appalled and furious that these cowardly terrorists would deliberately target innocent Londoners and bystanders enjoying their Saturday night," Khan said June 4. "There can be no justification for the acts of these terrorists. And I’m quite clear that we will never let them win nor will we allow them to cower our city or Londoners."
Khan talked about the stepped-up police presence three different times in the news conference, and twice he said people should not be alarmed by it. Here's one of the comments in context, via the BBC:
"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 and all of us need to do is make sure we're as safe as we possibly can be.
"I'm reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world, but we always evolve and review ways to make sure that we remain as safe as we possibly can."
The comment came up again when Khan was asked to give his message to Londoners and visitors (go to the 6:50 mark). In addition to saying they should remain calm and vigilant, he said, "You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers, uniformed officers. There's no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world."
At another point in the news conference, Khan said he did not want the general elections Thursday postponed as a result of the attacks, and the threat level remained "severe."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s probable that Trump fired off his tweets after watching Fox & Friends, where pundits discussed Khan’s comments in the same manner around the same time.
Asked about Trump’s tweet, a spokesperson for Khan told NBC News, "The mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services, and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city. He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police — including armed officers — on the streets."
Trump tweeted, "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’ "
Trump portrayed Khan as an official with his head in the sand about the attacks that disrupted his city. The reality is the president plucked five words from the mayor’s longer message that condemned the terrorist acts and explained why Londoners would see an increased police presence in the coming days. Khan was not saying there is "no reason to be alarmed," period, by the attack -- he was pre-empting concerns about what law enforcement presence might mean in the days to come.
We rate Trump’s statement False.
BBC, "London attack: 'Grief and anger' - Sadiq Khan," June 4, 2017
NBC News, "London’s Mayor Says ‘We Will Never Let These Cowards Win,’ Slams Trump Retort," June 4, 2017
Donald Trump tweet, June 4, 2017
YouTube, "BREAKING NEWS: London Mayor Sadiq Khan Speaks After London Event," June 3, 2017
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