US President Donald Trump directly criticised UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s “soft Brexit” strategy, saying it could “kill” chances of a US-UK trade deal in a wide-ranging interview published on his first day of his British tour.
Speaking to the UK tabloid The Sun, Trump said a potential trade deal would “most likely” fail if May’s strategy was implemented because the US would be “dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK”.
“If they do that, their trade deal with the US will probably not be made because we have enough difficulty with the European Union,” Trump told The Sun.
He also said he told May “how to do it”, but that she “didn’t listen” and “wanted to go a different route”.
The comments were published on Thursday as May hosted an elaborate state dinner for the president and his wife Melania in honour of their arrival in the country.
|Trump said May ignored his advice on Brexit negotiations [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]|
It’s a blow May doesn’t need as she tries to sell her Brexit strategy to Tory conservatives, many of whom say it doesn’t secure British independence from the European Union.
Asked about the comments, a spokesperson said May was “looking forward to sitting down with Trump to talk him through the brexit negotiating stance”.
After The Sun story was published, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president “likes and respects Prime Minister May very much,” adding that he said in the interview she “is a very good person,” and that he “never said anything bad about