Trump Aims at a Mayor, and Foreign Ties Strain


But even as the investigation into the attack was getting underway, Mr. Trump wasted little time in using the episode to defend his hotly disputed travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries and to criticize the judges who have blocked it. And by Sunday morning, he decided to go after the mayor of London as not being tough enough on terrorism.

Along the way, he mischaracterized the mayor’s position, renewed a trans-Atlantic feud stretching back a year and widened his rift with the United States’ traditional European allies a bit further. And he set off a chain reaction in the news media world, triggering partisan reactions that illustrated just how polarized both the United States and the world have become about the uninhibited, Twitter-obsessed president.

Mr. Trump’s penchant for picking fights is well established by now, but it continues to confound and exasperate foreign leaders who are not accustomed to such rough-and-tumble interactions with American presidents. The niceties of international diplomacy have never had such a reality-show flavor to them in the modern era, but Mr. Trump has thrilled his nationalist base with his “America First” approach, and all the complaints from overseas only seem to embolden him.

The latest contretemps came when Mr. Trump heaped scorn on Mayor Sadiq Khan of London. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

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