Trump Won’t Visit London to Open Embassy. His U.K. Critics Say He Got the Message.

Last year the United States ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, said that he hoped Mr. Trump would visit in early 2018 and dedicate the new embassy, providing the opportunity for a symbolically important, but lower-key, visit to a close ally.

No official statement had been made about the visit, and no formal invitation had been issued, although diplomats were known to be trying to organize a meeting, and the embassy opening was an obvious moment at which to do so.

Then, late on Thursday night, the president took to his favorite medium, Twitter, and announced that he had scrapped his trip because he was unhappy with the new building, and the decision to quit the old site in central London, which has been taken over by the Qatari royal family’s property company, which plans to convert it into a luxury hotel.

His critics in Britain gave that explanation little credence. Ed Miliband, the former Labour Party leader, responded to Mr. Trump’s announcement on Twitter, saying: “Nope. It’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message.”

The old United States Embassy, in a famous square in the exclusive Mayfair neighborhood, was deemed to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The new one, which includes a small moat, is a high-tech construction in a former rail yard on the South Bank of the Thames.

Though Mr. Trump blamed the Obama administration for the move, the first announcement of new embassy site had been made in 2008 during the administration of President George W. Bush.

In a statement released on Friday the United States Embassy in London said that, in 2007, a plan was developed “to finance a new embassy project through a property swap for existing U.S. government property in London. This solution allowed construction of a new chancery that meets all security standards, yet used no tax payer dollars to fund the project.”



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