Fact check: What about the London embassy deal?
By Jill Lawless | Associated Press
LONDON — President Donald Trump says he has decided not to come to London to open the new U.S. Embassy, blaming the Obama administration for doing a “bad deal” to move the diplomatic mission.
Here’s a look at some of the assertions in his late-night tweet:
TRUMP: “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 ribbon-NO!”
OBAMA WAS ARCHITECT OF EMBASSY MOVE?
The decision to move the embassy from its historic location in London’s Grosvenor Square was made under President George W. Bush and announced in October 2008.
The main reason cited was security: U.S. officials said it would have taken several years and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the old embassy, completed in 1960, up to standard. The new building is also larger and more energy efficient.
The embassy said Friday that the old building “had aged beyond its ability to be improved to current security and life safety standards without extensive investment in infrastructure that would require appropriated dollars.”
OLD BUILDING WAS SOLD FOR “PEANUTS”?
Although the decision was not made under Obama, Trump is correct to say that the sale of the embassy was completed during the Obama administration. The building was sold in 2009 to a Qatari government investment fund, which plans to turn it into a hotel.
The price hasn’t been revealed. Another U.S diplomatic building on London’s Grosvenor Square, the Navy Annex, was sold in 2007 for 250 million pounds (almost $500 million at the time). The Canadian High Commission, a much smaller building also on Grosvenor Square, was sold in …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics