Trump trashes May's Brexit plans and hails Boris Johnson as future PM - live | Politics
“Trump is a racist and disrespects our nation. Why does he get to meet our Queen? And those Tories saying we should respect him simply because he is elected president – by that logic shouldn’t he respect our prime minister and London’s mayor?” tweeted the MP for Redcar.
People are having fun with the sorts of excuses that the queen might offer to get out of her meeting with the president, chief among them bone spurs, Trump’s reason for deferring military service in Vietnam.
“She is his host. What did his mother teach him? This is not the way you behave,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Thornberry said Trump’s comments on the prime minister’s Brexit strategy and his suggestion Mr Johnson would be a “great prime minister” were “rudeness upon rudeness upon rudeness”.
However her sympathy for the PM was not unqualified. The Labour MP said: “You need to stand up to him. She is letting down our country by not standing up to him.”
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“The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her’. He thought she was great on Nato today and is a really terrific person. He is thankful for the wonderful welcome from the Prime Minister here in the UK.”
Hopefully that will be of some reassurance to the prime minister as she wakes up to the furore that has resulted from Trump’s interview and contemplates a morning of talks and a working lunch with the president.
“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London,” Trump said, before referring directly to Khan: “I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism. 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 even appeared to hold Khan personally responsible for immigration in Europe. “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”
Protests are planned around the country this week, including a march in central London today, that more than 60,000 people have indicated they will attend. A further 10,000 people are expected to take part in a separate women’s march along the same route earlier in the day.
Despite the confidence he expressed about his popularity in Britain, Trump told the Sun in his controversial interview that he had been made to feel “unwelcome” by the Trump baby blimp, which is due to fly over Parliament Square today.
“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?” he said.
His full analysis is here.Donald Trump has once again torn up standard etiquette for diplomacy by turning up, not with flowers or a bottle of wine – but a verbal grenade. As he was setting off for his first visit to the UK as American president, he told the Sun that he advised Theresa May “how to do” Brexit but “she didn’t listen to me”...
Clearly, when in 2016 Trump declared himself “Mr Brexit”, he should have been taken both seriously and literally. His ego and belief in his own deal-making skills are such that he apparently thought he alone could fix it. Few observers believe that he has studied the vast mounds of paperwork or the complex web of laws involved.
His outburst to the Sun – a Eurosceptic tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox News channel supplies many of Trump’s views and staff – could certainly be seen as bad manners, perhaps an act of revenge for the baby blimp set to take to the London sky on Friday.
On another, equally Trumpian level, it might be regarded as his latest brazen attempt to undermine an old ally. Just as the president tore into Angela Merkel’s Germany over pastries and cheese before the Nato summit had even started, now he has May’s Britain in his sights.
What is Trump doing today?
- The president will leave London this morning and travel to Sandhurst, the royal military academy, where he will participate in a viewing of joint military forces.
- From there he goes to Chequers for a bilateral meeting with Theresa May, due to begin at 10:50am, followed by a working lunch with her.
- At 1:45pm we are expecting a joint press conference to be held between Trump and May.
- At 5pm, the president and first lady will participate in an official greeting with the queen at Windsor Castle and then have tea with her. The Trumps are scheduled to spend a total of 40 minutes with the queen.
- After this they travel to Stansted and fly to Glasgow. From there they will go to Trump’s golf course in Turnberry.
The US president arrived in Britain yesterday ahead of a four-day visit, but things got off to a shaky start due to an interview Trump gave to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper, in which he trashed Theresa May’s plan for Brexit, hailed Boris Johnson as a future prime minster and accused Sadiq Khan, London mayor, of doing “a bad job” on terrorism.
Trump suggested that May’s plan for a “soft Brexit”, agreed to by her Cabinet last week, could jeopardise the UK-US trade deal, expected to be negotiated by the two leaders today.
“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. If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made,” he said.
The interview is a break with diplomatic protocol – it generally being seen as bad taste to criticise one’s host – and is both humiliating and politically problematic for May who only received support for her “soft” Brexit plans last week after painful negotiations with her Cabinet, which resulted in the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis.
Trump’s comments were met with outrage by MPs, who have accused him of “disrespecting” the nation and “humiliating” the prime minister. Some have suggested his interview is grounds for Theresa May to show him the door.
We will bring you the news of Trump’s visit, political fallout from his interview, and anything else that happens, throughout the day. Keep checking in.