Donald Trump’s visit to Britain has drawn to a close. Now making his first presidential visit to Ireland, it seems the former realtor and reality TV star couldn’t leave without making some controversial comments about his host country.
On TV show Good Morning Britain, presenter Piers Morgan asked about gun control in the US. Trump defended their widespread availability and added: “In London, you have stabbings all over.” Keen to deflect from the US gun crime crisis, which claimed 12 more lives in Virginia Beach just last week, Trump continued: “I read an article where everybody is being stabbed.” He added: “They said your hospitals are a sea of blood - all over the floors.”A video of the interview can be watched below
President Trump has repeatedly defended the right to bear arms - as defined by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It is one of a number of key issues which tend to divide liberals and conservatives in America. However, rather than advocate the right to bear arms, Trump appears to suggest that everyone should have a gun.
"When somebody has a gun illegally and nobody else has a gun because the laws are that you can't have a gun, those people are gone. They have no choice, they have no chance," he stated in the interview. "The people that obey the laws...those people are sitting ducks."
There is some truth in what Trump has claimed about knife crime in the UK. There is a significant problem in London, with almost 30 fatal stabbings here so far this year. However, with 135 homicides in London last year, 2018 has seen a significant improvement in these concerning statistics. This year has seen a 25 per cent drop in murders and a 15 per cent drop in stabbings of under 25s.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick praised the “massive enforcement” of stop and search, which has seen a 30 per cent increase. “Stop and search doesn't account for all this reduction but I think it is producing a significant result we see every day, with taking weapons off the street and making arrests,” she told journalists.
Stop and search powers have received a mixed reaction from the British public, with some critics claiming that they are used to target individuals based on race. However, Cressida Dick added: “The vast majority of people do support us doing that and are asking for more activity, not less.”
Crime in London highlights the enormous wealth inequality seen in many of the world’s global cities. In many cases, a single wall is all that divides a million pound home with an identical properly subdivided into multiple apartments.
The predominantly green map above shows crime hotspots in London. Turning to a predominantly blue colour, this highlights the city's poorest boroughs. Speaking to the Metro about this comparison, Chief Executive of The Childhood Trust Laurence Guinness explained: “You’ll notice that the areas that have the highest number of recorded violent crimes are neighbouring those that have the highest levels of people in poverty” He added: “They aren’t going to carry out crime in their own neighbourhood - they’re going to go down the road and carry it out.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is therefore under constant pressure to reduce crime. In fact, Trump himself called him a “stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London" after Khan stated, “we shouldn't be rolling out the red carpet" in regards to Trump’s arrival to the UK.
However, Khan is far from the only person Trump has upset on his visit. He turned down the opportunity to meet with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has publically criticised Trump before. Having boycotted Monday’s banquet which was held in Trump’s honour, Corbyn stated that he was "ready to engage with the president on a range of issues, including the climate emergency, threats to peace and the refugee crisis". However, Trump declined, calling him "somewhat of a negative force". Meanwhile, others have pointed out that Trump appears to fall asleep during the Queen’s speech at this same banquet which Corbyn boycotted.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
Nonetheless, most unsettling is Trump’s unwavering position on gun control. "If there was a gun on the other side, if one or two or three of those people had a gun, it would have never happened," Trump stated in the Good Morning Britain interview, in reference to a mass shooting in Paris. However, speaking of the Virginia Beach shooting last week, he suggested that silencers should perhaps be banned.
Interviewer Piers Morgan noted that "more people were shot dead in America that week than have died from guns in Paris since the Second World War" and stated that he never "understood why anyone in America needs a semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifle." Trump’s answer? “Entertainment.”
Rather than simply defending one’s property, one’s family or oneself, the right to bear arms - perhaps ironically - aims to provide Americans with the ability to fight against a tyrannical government. A somewhat outdated concept, it is widely accepted that rising up against the government in modern day America would be a far more arduous task than it would have been in 1791. However, any attempt to argue against or undermine this piece of legislation is often seen by conservatives as un-American.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
Trump’s assertion that London has a big problem with knife crime is correct. However, a fair comparison between London’s knife problem and American gun problem simply can’t be dawn. Furthermore, the idea that London’s hospitals are home to a “sea of blood” follows the president's usual hallmarks of exaggeration, distortion and sensationalism.