Friday July 6, 2018
No U.S. president has paid a visit to the British city of Sheffield in at least a century. The municipality of 570,000, tucked in the Yorkshire countryside, is not exactly a hot spot for heads of state.
Even so, the city’s mayor, Magid Magid, wanted to make something clear to President Trump ahead of his July 13 visit to Britain: He’s not welcome.
At a city council meeting, Magid announced Trump was “banned” from visiting Sheffield. In a subsequent tweet, the mayor laid out his opposition to the U.S. president, citing Trump’s “ridiculous” ban on travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries, his decision to quit the Paris climate agreement and his defense of “white supremacists,” among other issues.
“We need to be honest, bold and courageous in our viewpoints,” Magid said, according to the BBC. “As a world leader, he has a lot of weight, and we have to fight that hate.”
To rub it in, Magid made the declaration wearing a sombrero, in “solidarity” with Mexico — a frequent target of Trump diatribes. And the mayor declared July 13 as Mexico solidarity day in Sheffield.
The gesture is utterly symbolic — there’s no indication that Trump plans to visit Sheffield, and mayors cannot unilaterally prevent anyone from visiting their city. (The city council “may through a collective, democratic debate and process, agree to condemn the views of an individual or organization,” according to the BBC.)
But the Sheffield mayor’s act of protest reflects widespread outrage over Trump’s coming state visit to Britain. Thousands of people plan to protest in London, where the president will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May. A group of activists just got permission to fly a gigantic blimp depicting Trump dressed only in a diaper over London while the president is in town.
On Twitter, Magid called Trump a “wasteman,” British slang for a layabout or a “person of little merit,” according to the BBC.
Magid’s own political journey is nearly as unconventional as Trump’s. The 28-year-old came to Britain at age 5 as a refugee from Somalia. He spent several months living in an Ethiopian refugee camp with his mother and five siblings, according to the BBC.
He is the youngest mayor in Sheffield’s history and one of the youngest politicians in Britain.