Donald Trump last night said London was “like a war zone” because of knife crime as he defended US gun laws.
Addressing the annual convention of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas, Texas, the US president said: “I recently read a story that, in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds.
“Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives, and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives…London hasn’t been used to that, they’re getting used to it, pretty tough.”
Mr Trump made the comments just weeks before he is due to make his first visit to Britain as president. Last year he reportedly suggested there were “no-go areas” in London because of Islamic extremists.
Mr Trump threw his full weight behind the NRA last night after briefly straying from the lobby group’s stance against gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.
Basking in the adoration of 8,000 people packed into a convention centre, Mr Trump called the NRA a “truly great organisation that loves this country” and its members “real patriots”. Amid chants of “USA, USA”, the president said: “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege. But they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.”
Mr Trump also thanked Kanye West, the rapper, for his public support. He said: “Kanye West must have some power because…I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week… Even the pollsters thought there must be a mistake.”
It was the first annual NRA meeting since America’s worst high school shooting on February 14 in which 17 people were killed by gunman Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. Survivors of the attack have since led a movement calling for tighter gun control laws.