Trump changes tack on post-Brexit deal
President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States and Britain could secure a “great” post-Brexit trade deal, lavishing praise on Prime Minister Theresa May and contradicting his own withering assessment of her strategy publicised hours earlier.
Fresh from sending NATO into crisis talks and ahead of a summit with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, Trump shocked Britain’s political establishment when he criticised May’s plans for ties with the European Union after Britain leaves in March.
In a newspaper interview published just hours before holding talks with May, Trump said her Brexit strategy would “kill” any chance of a trade deal and said she had not listened to his advice on how to negotiate with the EU.
But, as the two leaders stood together for a press conference in the garden of May’s grand 16thCentury official residence Chequers, Trump said the British leader was doing a “fantastic job”, added it was up to her how to conduct Brexit, and that a free trade deal was very much on the table.
Relations had never been more special, he said, and any criticism was “fake news”.
“Once the Brexit process is concluded and perhaps the UK has left the EU, I don’t know what they’re going to do but whatever you do is OK with me, that's your decision,” Trump said.
“Whatever you do is OK with us, just make sure we can trade together, that's all that matters. The United States looks forward to finalising a great bilateral trade agreement with the United Kingdom. This is an incredible opportunity for our two countries and we will seize it fully.”
At the same location a week ago, May finally won agreement for her Brexit plans from her cabinet after two years of tortuous internal wrangling.
Opponents of Donald Trump float a six-metre blimp depicting the US president as an orange, snarling nappy-wearing baby outside the British parliament