In his interview with MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Donald Trump lumped London and Paris together in alleging that both cities have parts that are too radicalised for policing. On London, Mr Trump couldn’t be more wrong, and Londoners will be quick to point that out.
Trump may have alleged that London was radicalised because of the recent ‘terrorist attack’ that occurred in London’s Leytonstone Tube station. Three people were stabbed, and though all sustained injuries, no one died. Americans living in London would not blink at this story because they know more brutal non-terrorist related activities happen in the US everyday.
To get a well-translated understanding of what London is like, talk to a former American expat. London is the most popular city in the world for international students and other Americans who live and work abroad, and Paris is not too far behind. American Londoners will tell you why they have lived outside the US for so long: it’s safer! So safe in fact, that the police in London don’t even carry guns. Though they are seen riding horses a bit more than their American counterparts.
Mr Trump has probably been to both London and Paris numerous times, but has only walked the parts that fit his billionaire life-style. One day — if Trump actually wandered outside of the wealthy London boroughs like Chelsea, South Kensington, Westminster, Bloomsbury and Canary Wharf — he would find a diverse metropolis that is much safer than his home in New York City. London’s homicide rate is four times less than that of New York, and it has almost twice as many billionaire citizens as The Big Apple.
Hands down, London is safer than New York.
What is more dangerous than London’s streets are Trump’s comments. A high profile figure making blatantly unfounded statements makes for good television but misinforms a large percentage of Americans, especially Trump’s supporters. Londoners can sniff out Americans who land in Heathrow Airport believing that a portion of their country is under ‘sharia law’ or that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is so bad that Stephen Hawking would have died if he was (as he actually is) British. Londoners laugh at how misinformed the average American is about their city and country. Electing a President that is equally as misinformed will only hurt the US with the British (and the rest of the world) down the road. The British even circulated a petition asking Parliament to bar Donald Trump from ever entering their country again and it has exceeded 400,000 signatures. This petition is scheduled for debate in Parliament on 18 January.
Trump’s supporters want a candidate that they view as an outsider and not ‘politically correct’ like the career politician. His unfiltered comments make Trump refreshing. But trying not to be politically correct does not give any presidential candidate the warrant to say what is untrue. The world watches US presidential elections, and foreigners will quickly fact check a candidate if they say something incorrect about their city, country, or culture. Trump already lost London’s faith long ago. Since Trump announced that he was running for office, Londoners have made expressions of both laughter and concern to their American comrades. To Londoners, Trump is very entertaining, but not presidential.
Though most Americans do not know who David Cameron is, the same cannot be said for the British. Most Brits know a lot more about American national elections, as well as our presidential hopefuls, than many Americans. Londoners watch our presidential debates along with us, and when one of our candidates says something like ‘London is too radicalised’ it makes them lose faith in the US. Even worse, Trump’s comments now make it more difficult for American expats in London and Paris to deal with their businesses and clients. These expats are now doing damage control, and Trump is not even elected.