Saturday 14 July 2018 - 10:57

Trump backtracks over his harsh criticism of May, calls Sun interview 'fake news'

Story Code : 737708
US President Donald Trump (L) gestures as he speaks next to Britain
US President Donald Trump (L) gestures as he speaks next to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (R) during a press conference following their meeting at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence, near Ellesborough, northwest of London on July 13, 2018 on the second day of Trump's UK visit. (AFP photo)

Breaking normal diplomatic conventions, Trump on Thursday blasted his host, May, in an interview published shortly after May rolled out the red carpet at Blenheim Palace for the US president’s first official visit to Britain.

Trump disparaged May’s compromise, pro-business plan to leave the European Union and warned that her approach could imperil any future trade deal between the US and UK, saying the prime minister’s Brexit plan is going “the opposite way.” 

On Friday, however, Trump told a joint press conference with the British prime minister that he supports the post-Brexit US trade deal with Britain, and that it was “fake news” to suggest otherwise.

“Whatever you’re going to do is OK with us,” Trump told May during a joint press conference at the conclusion of his visit to the UK.
“I didn’t criticize the prime minister. I’ve got a lot of respect for the prime minister,” Trump told reporters.

 “Just make sure we can trade together. That’s all that matters,” he said.

Trump heaped praise on May during the press conference, apparently making an effort to soothe nerves in 10 Downing Street.

"She’s a very smart, very tough, very capable person,” he said. “I would much rather have her as my friend than my enemy, that I can tell you.”

Trump’s comments stood in stark contrast to an interview he gave to the Sun tabloid, in which he even chided May for ignoring his advice on Brexit negotiations with the EU. “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”

“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 told the paper.

Commenting on Trump's remarks, American political analyst and academic Dennis Etler said, "Amazing that world leaders have not made Trump persona non grata."

"He should be barred from all international meetings and should not be invited for state visits. Foreign leaders should also boycott going to Washington to be hosted by him," added Etler who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

"The world would be a much safer place if they did," he stated.