After President Trump’s gong show of a performance in Brussels, the bloviator-in-chief arrived in London Thursday smack in the middle of a tumultuous week in the U.K. as the country’s conservative government teeters under the weight of delivering on its Brexit commitment to leave the European Union. What leaving the EU will look like, in practice, has been divisive even amongst those in favor of going it alone. Two members of the cabinet resigned this week and appeared to push Prime Minister Theresa May to the brink. Enter America’s bowling ball of a president, who, in an incredibly on-brand move, sat down with the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid The Sun for his first interview. The headline of the Sun’s story is “Trump’s Brexit Blast: I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it—the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump.” So you can see where this is headed.
In the interview, Trump appeared to torpedo the British prime minister and her leadership on Brexit, calling into question a potential trade deal with the U.S., a trade relationship that has been viewed as existentially important for the country while exiting the Eurozone. May has proposed what’s being billed as a “soft Brexit,” which tries to maintain the trade benefits of being in the EU by harmonizing customs policies. It has faced withering criticism from those in her party that seem to believe the U.K. is in the driver’s seat of the negotiation. “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said to the Sun of a potential soft Brexit. “[I]f they do that I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.”
That’s what the Sun was looking for and it quickly began huffing and puffing trying to bring the May government down. The tabloid breathlessly described Trump’s assessment as his “most brutally honest verdict yet on Britain,” “deeply damaging to the PM,” an “incendiary verdict on [May’s] negotiating strategy,” and an “extraordinary intervention” that “will pour nitroglycerine on the already raging Tory Brexiteer revolt against the PM.” Trump went on to bumble his way through not really appearing to know anything about Brexit or the complex issues at hand before saying he was right all along, but May didn’t listen. “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” Trump said. “She wanted to go a different route… I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way. And that is fine. She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on.”
“And in more remarks that will set off alarm bells in No10, Mr. Trump also said Mrs May’s nemesis Boris Johnson—who resigned over the soft Brexit blueprint on Monday—would “make a great Prime Minister,” the Sun enthused about the recently resigned Johnson, who has proven profoundly and disqualifyingly careless on all fronts.
Other absurdities touched on by Trump during the interview (via the Sun):
· Accused EU leaders of destroying its culture and identity by allowing in millions of migrants
· Tore into London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not standing up to terrorists
· Blamed Khan for spiralling crime in the capital
· Insisted former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make “a great Prime Minister”
· Denied once branding Theresa May a “bossy schoolteacher”
· Maintained he would keep ties with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin despite the Salisbury Novichok poisonings
· Demanded Britain and other Nato countries spend more on defence
· Spoke of his sadness at feeling unwelcome in the capital by anti-Trump protesters
· Claimed millions of Brits backed his policies
· Told of his pride at taking wife Melania to meet the Queen
Day two should be fun.