Pomp and protests in Lon­don greet Trump, who slams May’s Brexit plan

Pres­i­dent marks first visit to Bri­tain

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - International -

LON­DON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lobbed a ver­bal hand grenade into Theresa May’s care­fully con­structed plans for Brexit, say­ing Thurs­day that the Bri­tish leader had wrecked the coun­try’s exit from the Euro­pean Union and likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States.

Mr. Trump — who was dish­ing up a fresh dose of chaos while mak­ing his first pres­i­den­tial visit to Bri­tain af­ter leav­ing be­hind a con­tentious NATO gath­er­ing in Brus­sels — told The Sun news­pa­per he had ad­vised Ms. May on how to con­duct Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, “but she didn’t lis­ten to me.”

“She should ne­go­ti­ate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is go­ing on,” the pres­i­dent said in an in­ter­view that over­shad­owed a pomp-filled wel­come cer­e­mony.

The Ru­pert Mur­do­chowned tabloid pub­lished an in­ter­view with Mr. Trump as Ms. May was host­ing him at a black-tie din­ner at Blen­heim Palace, birth­place of Bri­tain’s World War II Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill — the leader who coined the term “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” for the trans-At­lantic bond.

The pres­i­dent also blamed Lon­don’s Mus­lim mayor for ter­ror at­tacks against the city and ar­gued that Europe was “los­ing its cul­ture” be­cause of immigration.And Mr. Trump saidhe felt un­wel­come in Lon­don be­cause of protests, in­clud­ing plans to fly a gi­ant bal­loon over Par­lia­ment on Fri­day that de­picts him as an an­gry baby in a di­a­per.

On Thurs­day, ac­tivists gave a taste of the protests planned on Fri­day, though the crowd thinned out af­ter the pres­i­dent left for the din­ner at Blen­heim Palace. But or­ga­niz­ers hope to mount the big­gest week­day demon­stra­tion in Bri­tain since protests against the Iraq War more than a decade ago.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel un­wel­come, no rea­son for me to go to Lon­don,” said Mr. Trump, who on Fri­day will meet with Ms. May out­side of Lon­don, and then fly to Wind­sor Cas­tle to have tea with Queen El­iz­a­beth II.

The pres­i­dent claimed Europe is “los­ing its cul­ture” be­cause of immigration from the Mid­dle East and Africa.

“Al­low­ing the immigration to take place in Europe is a sham,” he said. “I think it changed the fab­ric of Europe and, un­less you act very quickly, it’s never go­ing to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a pos­i­tive way.”

The Sun said the in­ter­view was con­ducted Thurs­day in Brus­sels, be­fore Mr. Trump trav­eled to Bri­tain. His re­marks on Brexit came the same day Ms. May’s govern­ment pub­lished long-awaited pro­pos­als for Bri­tain’s re­la­tions with the EU af­ter it leaves the bloc next year.

The doc­u­ment pro­poses keep­ing Bri­tain and the EU in a free mar­ket for goods, with a more dis­tant re­la­tion­ship for ser­vices.

The “soft” blue­print for the U.K.’s fu­ture deal­ings with the EU has in­fu­ri­ated Brexit sup­port­ers, who think stick­ing close to the bloc would limit Bri­tain’s abil­ity to strike new trade deals around the world. For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son and Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis both quit the govern­ment this week in protest.

Mr. Trump said Mr. John­son, Ms. May’s now ex-for­eign sec­re­tary, “would be a great prime min­is­ter. I think he’s got what it takes.”

Mean­while, Mr. Trump said what Ms. May pro­posed on Brexit would hurt the chances of a fu­ture trade deal between the U.K. and the United States.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be deal­ing with the Euro­pean Union in­stead of deal­ing with the U.K., so it will prob­a­bly kill the deal,” Mr. Trump said.

Bren­dan Smi­alowski/AFP/Getty Im­ages

Ar­riv­ing for a black-tie din­ner Thurs­day with busi­ness lead­ers at Blen­heim Palace, west of Lon­don, are, from left, first lady Me­la­nia Trump, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Bri­tain’s Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and Philip May, spouse of the prime min­is­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.