In an interview with a UK tabloid, Trump said Brexit negotiations were “too slow,” but denied criticizing Prime Minister May. He said he thought former top diplomat Boris Johnson would make a good prime minister.
In a wide-ranging interview with the British tabloid The Sun on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump praised British Prime Minister Theresa May while criticizing her handling of Brexit negotiations, slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan over claims of rising crimes in the capital, and suggested that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would be a good prime minister.
“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” Trump said of Brexit negotiations, adding that they were going “too slow.”
“When a deal takes so long, they never work out very well,” Trump said hours before meeting May for dinner. He added, however, that he thought the PM was a “very good person.”
Trump also said that if May’s Brexit plans included sticking to EU rules it could prevent a US-UK trade deal.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said, adding that, “We have enough difficulty with the European Union.”
Many Brexit supporters used the opportunity for the UK to negotiate its own trade agreements as the basis for their call to leave the EU.
Trump ‘saddened’ at Johnson’s resignation
The Sun then asked about Brexit supporter Boris Johnson, who resigned as the UK’s top diplomatearlier this week over a spat with May about how to handle leaving the European Union.
“I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point,” Trump said. “I think he is a great representative for your country.”
While he added that he thought Johnson would one day be a good candidate to lead the country, he insisted that he wasn’t trying to put Johnson against May.
London Mayor Khan ‘has done a bad job’
The US president did not have such glowing words for London Mayor Sadiq Khan, however.
Claiming Khan has done a “very bad job on terrorism,” as well as on crime. Two years ago, Khan first crossed Trump’s radar by criticizing his call for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.
“I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in,” Trump said of Khan.
Trump said, however, that he “feels unwelcome” in London due to the thousands of people expected to protest in the British capital, as well as other cities.
Writing in the Evening Standard newspaper, Khan said, “The planned protests are not anti-American but to show that we support hope, unity, tolerance and equality.”
Immigration ‘changing fabric of Europe’
The president also took the opportunity to express his “great love for countries in Europe,” but claimed that allowing in refugees fleeing conflict and famine was causing the continent to lose its culture.
“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame,” he said. “I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was, and I don’t mean that in a positive way.”
The Sun is no stranger to publishing controversial material. Earlier this month, it was the subject of an official complaint by the Colombian ambassador the UK after it published a headline saying that the only important things from Colombia were coffee, Shakira and cocaine ahead of a World Cup match.
Trump arrived in the UK on Thursday for a four-day visit, including two days at his Scottish golf resort in Turnberry and a property in Aberdeen.