Donald Trump twisted the knife into Theresa May’s stricken government yesterday by declaring the UK “is in turmoil” and proclaiming his friendship for her arch-enemy Boris Johnson.
A bad week for May got worse when the US president offered her little support after the high profile resignation of Brexiteers Johnson and David Davis from her Cabinet.
Instead, Trump told reporters that Johnson was a “friend of mine” and raised the possibility of meeting the blundering Tory on his flying visit to the UK.
He said: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me, very supportive. I maybe will speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris, I’ve always liked him.”
The remarks would have struck at the heart of Downing Street, who attempted to dismiss them as
Trump’s chummy remarks about Johnson follow claims by Nigel Farage that the UK Government asked the president not to embarrass the Prime Minister by meeting with former the UKIP leader during his UK visit.
But Trump signalled that political meetings in Chequers, tea with the Queen and golfing weekend at his Scottish resort would not be the best part of his week-long trip to Europe.
Speaking to the US media at the White House before getting on to Marine One, his official helicopter, Trump said he would find his trip to Helsinki to see Russian leader Vladimir Putin the easiest meeting on his schedule.
He told reporters: “So, I have NATO, I have the UK – which is in somewhat turmoil. And I have
Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all.”
Trump added: “It’s going to be an interesting time in the UK and an interesting time at NATO. We will work it out and all countries will be happy.”
On whether or not May will continue as Prime Minister, Trump said that is a decision for the British people.
His comments can hardly be described as helpful to Downing Street.
Barack Obama went out of his way for David Cameron, saying a Brexit Britain would be “back of the queue” during the EU referendum campaign.
Trump – who faces massive protests across the UK from his arrival to his departure on Sunday – appears to have no intention of making life easier for May.
The UK looks like having no intention of making life easy for him either.
The US Embassy in London yesterday warned protests during Trump’s visit could turn violent.
Issuing a demonstration alert ahead of the presidential trip, the embassy urged people to keep a low profile as protests span three days.
Gatherings and rallies are planned across the UK from tomorrow, when Trump is expected to touch down in Britain.
Demos include one near Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, where Trump will attend a black-tie dinner and another not far from the US ambassador’s residence in London’s Regent’s Park where Trump and his wife Melania will stay overnight.