LONDON: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has hoped that American voters will reject Donald Trump and his “hate politics” in the upcoming November 3 elections.
In an exclusive interview with The News, Khan said that he opposes Trump as he poses a danger to American democracy, the free world, Muslims, minorities, and anyone who doesn’t agree with him — not because of his personal attacks.
“I have always been clear about Trump even before he became President of the United States,” Khan said, adding that the president does not understand the beauty of democracy, pluralism, and diversity.
“He is somebody who treats Muslims with suspicion. He has said things about Muslims, women, Mexicans that I find offensive.”
The choice for the American people, Khan said, is very simple in this election: “An awful, bad, anti-equality, anti-Muslim Trump (on the one hand) or Joe Biden. If I was voting, I would vote for Biden.”
Trump has launched several attacks on Khan, invoking his strong reaction, but he said: “It is not about me. I have 24/7 police protection as a result of the statements made by Trump. It is about the world. The American president is the leader of the free world, he has a huge amount of power and responsibility, and he has to use it sensibly. The reputation of the US has been tarnished in the last four years; the reputation of American democracy has been tarnished.”
The mayor said that it is really important for America to have great leaders, and Biden must repair the damage done by Trump.
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“We believe in equality and treat each other with respect, and we hope the new president will repair the damage done by Trump.”
The London mayor revealed that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in London are twice more likely to die due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to white people as they are over-represented in menial jobs such as bus drivers, factories, shops, and other low-paid areas.
Khan said the chances of someone dying as a result of working in these jobs is three times more than someone working in office jobs or managerial jobs.
“Many Pakistani are in front line jobs, in factories, bus, and private hire jobs as well as in other menial jobs”.
He said that the death rates of communities and studies conducted in the aftermath of the first wave of COVID-19 related deaths have established these facts.
Khan said that he had asked the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to investigate these deaths.
“I have asked for an investigation into these deaths but the Tory government is in denial and they don’t accept there are structural inequalities, racism, and equality issues. They have finally accepted that ethnicities of the deceased will be written in the death certificates.”
Khan blamed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government for “punishing Londoners” by imposing harsh conditions on the city and pointed out the extension of congestion charge zones, the extension of congestion timing, and the increase in rates of congestion payments, terming them as punishing for commuters and businesses.
He said the Transport for London (TfL) is a world-class service, but it has come under financial issues, as fewer people are using services after the first lockdown.
He said the government is “punishing us” and “requiring us to increase congestion charge to £15 and now asking us to extend the congestion charge zone to South to North circular which means four million additional Londoners will be paying $15 and I have said ‘No’”.
Khan said he was aware that private hire drivers and small and big businesses alike were suffering as a result of this. He said: “I know businesses are struggling because of the pandemic and these changes. I am upset that the government is punishing Londoners and punishing businesses around our city.”
Sadiq Khan resolved that London would bounce back to its day of glory pre-COVID-19. “We have suffered due to fires, great plagues, and terror attacks and we have always come back stronger, we will recover strongly and we will be greater even afterward.”