LONDON—He just wanted to make Donald Trump feel at home, but a British lawmaker has reignited the president’s rumbling feud with London’s first Muslim mayor by tweeting an inflammatory and wildly Islamophobic cartoon.
Michael Fabricant, who has been one of the few parliamentarians to speak out in favor of Trump’s visit to Britain, overstepped the mark within hours of Air Force One touching down in the country. He tweeted an image of the mayor being violated from behind by a pig while Trump laughed along.
White House advisers would have hoped to get through the two-day visit to England without Trump’s aggression towards Sadiq Khan, London’s Labour mayor, being dragged back into the news. Trump and Khan have had a long-running feud that has seen the U.S. president target the son of a Pakistani bus driver as soft on terrorism.
Khan has given as good as he got from Trump, hitting him for the “shameful and cruel” Muslim travel ban and arguing that the U.S. president should not be invited to Britain.
Last week, Khan approved a request from protesters to fly a giant inflatable “Trump baby” balloon over Westminster. The 19-foot-high orange inflatable depicts a snarling Trump wearing nothing but a diaper.
Fabricant, a Conservative Member of Parliament, responded immediately to the mayor’s approval by suggesting the U.S. embassy invite a sniper onto its roof to shoot down the balloon.
On Thursday, as Trump arrived in Britain, Fabricant continued to attack the protesters as hypocrites and fantasized about shooting the inflatable.
His goading went too far later in the day when he posted an image of Trump laughing in front of the Houses of Parliament as a balloon pig with Khan’s face on it was mounted by a second inflatable pig. The Quran describes pigs as “impure” and eating pork is forbidden in Islam.
Fabricant added the comment: “Well, what can I say.”
He deleted the image soon after posting it but not before stunned Twitter users had screen-grabbed the cartoon.
Amid calls for him to be suspended from the Conservative Party, Fabricant claimed that he had not seen Khan’s face in the image.
“My fault was not checking it closer on my iPhone first. Moral of the story, don’t examine a picture on a small screen,” he said to Politics Home.
Labour Member of Parliament Chuka Ummuna said Fabricant’s tweet was an example of Islamophobia, which he believes is endemic in the Conservative Party.
Despite such allegations, Prime Minister Theresa May has been among the British Conservatives who spoke out against Trump when he announced his Muslim travel ban last year.
May also attacked Trump for retweeting Islamophobic propaganda videos posted by far-right street protesters Britain First.
When Khan was elected as the first mayor of a Western capital in May 2016, the Britain First candidate Paul Golding turned his back on the new mayor as he delivered his acceptance speech.
Understandably, Khan then reacted with fury upon seeing Trump amplify their message of bigotry last year.
Trump attacked Khan’s response when London was hit by a series of terror attacks in 2016.