WASHINGTON (AFP) - Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said he would make an exception for London's new Muslim mayor after he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, the New York Times reported.
The presumed Republican presidential candidate proposed a ban on Muslims entering the country in December, days after terrorists killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
Sadiq Khan, elected London mayor on Saturday (May 6), had expressed worries that he would not be able to visit the United States were Trump elected in November.
"There will always be exceptions," Trump told the Times in an interview published Monday.
The brash real estate billionaire - who has alienated many Americans with insults against immigrants, Muslims and women - welcomed Khan's election.
"I was happy to see that," he said. "I think it's a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good." "If he does a good job, and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing," he added.
Khan, whose parents are Pakistani immigrants, is London's first Muslim mayor.
"I want to go to America to meet with and engage with American mayors," he told Time magazine.
"If Donald Trump becomes the president I'll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith," he said, adding he was confident "Donald Trump's approach to politics" would not win.
Khan doubled down on his criticism of Trump, even after learning that the presumed Republican presidential candidate would probably exempt him from it.
"This isn't just about me - it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world," Khan said.
He added: "Donald Trump's ignorant view of Islam could make both of our countries less safe - it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of extremists," said the mayor-elect.
"Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam. London has proved him wrong."