US President Donald Trump insists he did not criticise British Prime Minister Theresa May during an interview this week with The Sun newspaper in which he questioned the UK leader’s handling of Brexit.
- Mr Trump says newspaper didn’t include the “tremendous things” he said about Theresa May
- Ms May also thanked Mr Trump for his support over Russia
- Mr Trump met with Queen Elizabeth II over tea at Windsor Castle
“It’s called fake news,” Mr Trump declared.
During a joint news conference with Ms May, Mr Trump said he had “a lot of respect for the Prime Minister”.
The President said the newspaper did not include the “tremendous things” he said about Ms May in the interview.
“Unfortunately, there was a story that was done which was generally fine but it didn’t put in what I said about the Prime Minister and I said a tremendous thing,” he said.
Ms May also glossed over the comments.
Mr Trump said he looked forward to finalising a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, marking an abrupt change from the Sun newspaper article, which quoted him saying Ms May’s strategy would kill such an agreement.
In the article, published just hours before the two leaders held talks, Mr Trump chided the “very unfortunate” results of the Prime Minister’s proposals for Brexit and her negotiating tactics as Britain prepares to leave the European Union in March next year.
However, he later said Ms May was doing a “fantastic job”.
“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,” he told the joint news conference in the garden of her official country residence Chequers.
“Whatever you do is OK with us, just make sure we can trade together, that’s all that matters. This is an incredible opportunity for our two countries and we will seize it fully.”
US President Donald Trump is visiting the UK after NATO meetings in Europe. ((Jack Taylor/Pool Photo, via AP))
Ms May and Mr Trump both spoke of the importance of the “special relationship” between their two countries, something that Brexit supporters hope will reap benefits when Britain leaves the EU, allowing it to forge closer trade ties with the world’s biggest economy.
“I would say I would give our relationship in terms of grade the highest level of special,” Mr Trump said.
Ms May also thanked the US President for his support over Russia, which Britain has blamed for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in south-west England in March.
Mr Trump is due to meet Vladimir Putin, who has rejected the nerve agent claims, at a summit when he finishes his four-day visit to Britain.
“It will certainly be something that we bring up and talk about,” Mr Trump said.
As Mr Trump and Ms May spoke, thousands of protesters marched through central London, one of more than 100 demonstrations against the President planned during his stay.
Before heading for Scotland, the president and Queen Elizabeth II became acquainted over tea at Windsor Castle.
Towering over the queen, Mr Trump and the monarch shared a few interactions as they reviewed troops at the royal castle in Windsor.
The Queen, the President and first lady Melania Trump all shook hands. Star-Spangled Banner was then played and the Queen guided the president on a review of the honour guard in the castle courtyard.