Though the president is blaming a shoddy real estate deal on his cancelled trip, reports suggest that Trump was concerned about being met with a “hostile reception” at the capital and a lack of “bells and whistles.” And indeed, it’s not clear that Trump’s allegations of a “bad deal” on the new embassy passes the sniff test. From Business Insider:
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut !— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Trump appeared to be referencing the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, a concrete building in a ritzy neighborhood. The original building was in an area that had been viewed as a potential terrorist target, according to a June 2015 New York Times report. In addition to increased safety at the new embassy location in the Nine Elms district on the South Bank of the Thames, the building better accommodates its 1,000 employees, who occupied the old building that was only meant for 800, according to The Times.
Other reports suggest that the relocation of the embassy was not a lopsided real-estate deal. The US State Department in 2008 hosted a competition for the new building’s design, Reuters reported. The billion-dollar structure was completely funded “by the sale of other properties in London,” the Reuters report said.