President Trump set off a chain reaction across the pond as he weighed in on the race to be the UK’s next prime minister. Monday Trump will begin a three-day official State visit and the Mayor of London has his knickers in a twist.
Trump said in an interview that he is supportive of Boris Johnson as the next prime minister. It wasn’t a statement of an official endorsement but more of expressing the fact that he has what he considers friendship with Johnson.
“I have actually studied it very hard. I know the different players,” he told The Sun tabloid in an interview published late on Friday.
“But I think Boris would do a good job,” he said, referring to New York-born former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who also served as British foreign secretary. “I think he would be excellent.”
Trump told the newspaper that his endorsement had also been sought by other candidates for the position and that his good opinion would vastly raise any candidate’s chance of being chosen.
Trump spoke about both Johnson and Nigel Farage in complimentary terms.
“I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person. He has been positive about me and our country.”
Mr Trump’s remarks come just days before he will land in the UK for his second visit since becoming President. He will meet with members of the Royal Family and Prime Minister Theresa May.
It is believed the President is interested in meeting Mr Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage during the trip after he described the pair as “friends” and “good guys”.
Farage, however, says that he is being banned from meeting with Trump during his visit. Ultimately with whom President Trump meets is his own decision.
“Isn’t that absolutely bizarre. Doesn’t it sum up why British politics needs to change? The small-minded pettiness.” Mr Farage, who has met the US president and shared pro-Brexit views on several occasions, added: “I supported him publicly, I speak to him occasionally on the phone, but I was told it was not to happen.” Mr Farage said a very good Washington source told him Downing Street wanted to stop him meeting up with Mr Trump. And a Whitehall source said last night: “Downing Street are doing their utmost to avoid the two meeting, though of course the decision rests with Donald Trump.” No 10 maintained it was not its place to decide who Mr Trump sees when he makes his three-day trip. “Who the president meets during his visit is, of course, a matter for him,” a spokesman said.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is a long-time critic of President Trump. Khan compared Trump’s speech to that of ‘a 20th-century fascist’ and declared that the president is interfering in the Conservative party leadership race. And, he’s ticked off that Trump is receiving the red carpet treatment during his visit.
‘The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years.
‘This is a man who also tried to exploit Londoners’ fears following a horrific terrorist attack on our city, amplified the tweets of a British far-right racist group, denounced as fake news the robust scientific evidence warning of the dangers of climate change;
And is now trying to interfere shamelessly in the Conservative party leadership race by backing Boris Johnson because he believes it would enable him to gain an ally in Number 10 for his divisive agenda.’
Mayor Khan assures Londoners that an increased police presence during Trump’s visit will be able to manage protests that are expected. Besides large street demonstrations, the Baby Trump blimp is expected to make an appearance in the skies of London. And this year there is a new addition – a giant robot Trump sitting on a gold toilet.
Not to be outdone, House of Commons leader Mel Stride piled on with his own criticism of Trump. Stride backs Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, the newly-appointed leader of the House of Commons claimed Donald Trump was “entitled to his opinion” but that he will not be up to the US President to decide who will replace Theresa May. It comes as President Trump claimed he believes Boris Johnson would do “a good job” leading the country and the Conservative Party ahead of the leadership contest to replace Mrs May.
The Tory MP, who backs Environment Secretary Michael Gove to become next Prime Minister, said: “The President of the United States, of course, is entitled to his opinion.
“But it’s not the case of him picking the next prime minister of our country.
“That process will be one involving the parliamentary party and then the membership itself.”
Never a dull moment.
From rolling back women's reproductive rights to defending white supremacists and far-right nationalists – President Trump's behaviour flies in the face of ideals America was founded upon.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 2, 2019