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'A negative force': Trump says he turned down a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn

Trump made his comments during a joint press conference this afternoon with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Updated Jun 4th 2019, 2:47 PM

President Trump state visit to UK - Day Two British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump during their joint press conference this afternoon Source: Stefan Rousseau via PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has called opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn “somewhat of a negative force” and said he turned down a meeting with him. 

Trump made his comments during a press conference this afternoon in London with British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

During the conference, Trump said Corbyn asked to meet with him today or tomorrow but he declined the offer, calling him “somewhat of a negative force”. 

“He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided that I would not do that,” Trump said.

“I really don’t like critics,” he added. 

Yesterday, Trump called London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser”. Responding to questions about his comments this afternoon, the US president said Khan has been a poor mayor and that he is “a negative force, he’s not a positive force”. 

“He hurts the people of this country,” he said. 

The president’s three-day visit – centred around Wednesday’s D-Day 75th-anniversary commemorations – comes at a tricky time for Britain, with May stepping down within weeks over her handling of Brexit.

The UK-US “special relationship” has been under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks, climate change, and Trump’s personal politics.

May is due to step down as leader of the governing Conservative Party on Friday, some 13 candidates so far are jostling to replace her by late July.

Speaking of a post-Brexit trade deal,  Trump said “when you’re dealing with trade, everything is on the table”. 

“I think we’re going to have a great trade deal, yes,” Trump said.

Protests

Donald Trump visit to UK The 'Baby Trump' balloon in London's Parliament Square, as part of the protests against the visit of US President Donald Trump to the UK last July. Source: Kirsty O'Connor via PA Images

The press conference came as anti-Trump protests were held outside parliament. The “Baby Trump” balloon has been inflated again for today’s protests.

“Trump baby is just a mascot for a massive movement against Trump’s hateful and divisive politics,” organiser Leo Murray told AFP.

Corbyn spoke at the rally after skipping a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace yesterday in protest at Trump’s policies.

He said the protest was “an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country”.

Addressing the protests during the press conference this afternoon, Trump said there were “thousands of people” on the streets of London yesterday cheering. 

He said he saw some protesters today, but only a very small group, adding that reports of protests have been “fake news”. 

Morning talks

During their talks this morning, Trump joked with May that she should “stick around” and reach a much stronger economic alliance with the United States once her country finally leaves the European Union.

“I think we will have a very, very substantial trade deal. It will be a very fair deal,” he told her at a meeting with business leaders and ministers, adding: “We’re going to get it done.”

Despite having repeatedly criticised May’s Brexit strategy, Trump said she had done “a fantastic job”.

Trump’s day will be finished off with a dinner at the US ambassador’s Winfield House residence. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will attend on behalf of Queen Elizabeth.

At yesterday’s state banquet, Trump hailed the sovereign as a “great, great woman” as the Trump dynasty joined the royal family in the Buckingham Palace ballroom.

Tomorrow, May and Trump will conclude the trip by joining other world leaders in  Portsmouth to commemorate 75 years since the D-Day landings.

He will then depart the UK, shifting his base to Doonbeg in Co Clare for the next few days, and is due to meet the Taoiseach tomorrow at Shannon Airport. 

Includes reporting by - © AFP, 2019 

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