WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on Saturday on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, backing a right-wing British columnist who has been widely accused of Islamophobia and once called migrants “cockroaches”.

Trump attached his latest denunciation of the mayor to a retweet by Katie Hopkins about crime in “Khan’s Londonistan” — using a term widely perceived as a pejorative reference to the British capital’s Muslim population and Khan’s Pakistan ancestry.

“LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster — will only get worse!” Trump wrote in response to Hopkins’ tweet, later adding the mayor was “a national disgrace who is destroying” the city.

Earlier this month the president’s plane had not even touched down in London for the start of a state visit when he tweeted that Khan was a “stone cold loser”.

Khan had criticised the red carpet treatment being given to Trump for the visit.

Trump said the mayor should “focus on crime in London, not me”, and made a derisive reference to Khan’s height.

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, had led opposition to Trump’s visit, writing a newspaper article in which he compared the US leader to European dictators from the 1930s and 1940s.

At that time, the mayor’s spokesman called Trump’s tweets “childish” and “beneath the president of the United States”.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2019