Donald Trump denies planning Jordan trip

Donald Trump denies planning Jordan trip
The Republican presidential candidate has rejected reports that he planned to visit the majority-Muslim kingdom, as he faces calls to be banned from the UK over "hate-speech" laws.
3 min read
09 December, 2015
Donald Trump has denied planning to visit Jordan after Islamophobic remarks [Getty]

Donald Trump on Tuesday denied reports that he planned to visit the majority-Muslim kingdom of Jordan at the end of the year.

Trump's denial of an AP report came a day after his controversial proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States to protect the nation from "Islamic terrorism".

"Despite my great respect for King Abdullah II, I will not be visiting Jordan at this time. This is in response to the false @AP report," tweeted the Republican presidential candidate.

Trump has, however, said he plans to visit Israel. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had told AP that Washington was making preparations - at the campaign's request - for Trump to also visit Jordan.

The official was not authorised to publicly discuss the preparations due to security concerns. Trump, like all mainstream presidential candidates, has Secret Service protection.

Another US official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP late on Tuesday that Trump's campaign had contacted the US embassy in Amman about the trip, and the State Department was discussing how to facilitate Trump's visit as recently as Tuesday afternoon.

     Despite my great respect for King Abdullah II, I will not be visiting Jordan at this time
 - Donald Trump

This official also was not authorised to speak publicly about the trip over security issues.

The official said the State Department was working with Trump on security preparations and consulting about arranging meetings there.

Because Trump is a private citizen, the State Department does not extend to him the same level of assistance as an administration official or member of Congress, but it was working cooperatively with his campaign, the official said.

Restricted travel

Trump was widely criticised over his proposal this week to prevent all Muslims from visiting the US, although he clarified his idea on Tuesday to say that he would allow foreign Muslim leaders to visit.

The billionaire tycoon, who has no formal political experience, has faced calls in Britain for his own travel to be restricted after his comments were widely interpreted as Islamophobic and compared with outright fascism.

The UK has laws against "hate speech", and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP, the Scottish Nationalist Party's trade and investment spokeswoman, said Trumps comments should be treated in this vein.

"It is within the gift of the UK government to deny access to people who are hate preachers and not conducive to the public good," she said, reported The Herald.

"And so the test is does what Donald Trump said amount to hate preaching? And I would suggest that it does, given that he has denounced an entire religion. And does it do the public good to have him preaching such things on our soil? I would say that on both he meets the test."

Trump has extensive golfing and other business operations in Scotland - some of which have sparked controversy.

"I hope we can rely on the people of the US, when the time comes, to reject Mr Trump and all he stands for," said Ahmed-Sheikh.

Jordan is among the United States' staunchest allies in the Middle East region and its military has flown frequent bombing missions against the Islamic State group.

Trump's Republican rival, Ben Carson, visited two camps for Syrian refugees in the Jordanian desert two weeks ago with no media coverage. Carson later praised Jordan for its generosity toward refugees - but said none should be brought to the United States.