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White House says Trump 'likes and respects' May as he blasts her Brexit plan in Sun interview

Trump began his visit to the UK yesterday.

THE WHITE HOUSE press secretary has said that US President Donald Trump “likes and respects” British Prime Minister Theresa May “very much” following an interview in which he said she has killed off any chance of a trade deal with the US post-Brexit.

The interview with The Sun newspaper came after Trump arrived in the UK yesterday for his first trip as President, where he is expected to hold talks with May today, as well as meeting the Queen.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has reiterated that Trump told The Sun that May was “a very good person” and that he “never said anything bad about her”.

In the wide-ranging interview, Trump said that Theresa May ignored his advice by opting for a softer Brexit strategy with the EU.

Trump attacked May’s much-maligned softer Brexit stance that has angered many Brexiteers.

He told the Sun: “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.

The deal she is striking is a much ­different deal than the one the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum. I have just been hearing this over the last three days. I know they have had a lot of resignations. So a lot of people don’t like it.

Reaction

During the interview, Trump also said that former foreign secretary Boris Johnson – who resigned earlier this week – would make a “great prime minister”, and demanded that the UK and other NATO countries spend more on defence.

He went on the attack against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, with whom he has exchanged harsh words in the past.

Trump accused Khan of not standing up to terrorists and added that he felt “sadness” at feeling unwelcome in the UK capital where he is expected to face protests today.

A number of UK MPs have voiced their opinions of Trump’s interview on social media.

Labour MP Anna Turley said: “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 & London Mayor?”

MP for Central Ealing and Acton Rupa Huq said Trump’s comments were Islamophobic.

“Plus dash of Islamophobia lobbed at Sadiq Khan who he blames for terrorism. Awful stuff,” Huq tweeted.

Downing Street stayed silent but junior foreign minister Alan Duncan brushed off the row, saying Trump was a “controversialist, that’s his style”.

Emily Thornberry, foreign affairs spokeswoman for the opposition Labour party who has herself called May’s Brexit plan a “delusion”, said Trump had been “extraordinarily rude”.

“She is his host. What did his mother teach him? This is not the way you behave,” she told ITV.

Yvette Cooper, a Labour MP and chairwoman of parliament’s home affairs committee said: “Trump’s appalling behaviour makes me sympathise with Theresa May.

“[Until] I remember her desperate rush to invite him, her repeated reluctance to criticise his Muslim ban or caging of children, her chasing him for a bad trade deal…. For God’s sake Theresa, stand up to him today.”

Other MPs in May’s Conservative party rounded on the president for being “determined to insult” May.

Meanwhile,  French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that Europe will stand up to Trump’s efforts to “destabilise” the EU and derail international cooperation.

He said on BFM  television that Trump “can’t tolerate that there is an ensemble called the European Union”.

“Europe will not let itself be destabilised,” he added.

Le Drian says Trump only believes in conflictual relationships and accused him of trying to destroy multilateral efforts to encourage trade, fight climate change and Iran’s nuclear activities.

With reporting by Associated Press and AFP.

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