The President of the United States, Donald Trump dabbled into Britain’s political problems on Tuesday by speaking to Boris Johnson over the phone. The Brexit-supporting favorite is set to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Feted by Queen Elizabeth on the first day of his state visit to Britain, Trump turned to politics on Tuesday, offering to meet Johnson, a former foreign minister who has said the United Kingdom should leave the EU on Oct. 31, deal or no deal.
Even before Air Force One landed on British soil, Trump praised the main leaders of Brexit – Johnson and Nigel Farage – and his advisers called on Britain’s next leader to block Huawei from the next generation mobile phone technology.
Trump on Tuesday called Johnson and offered a one-to-one meeting but Johnson declined the invitation as he had to focus on meeting Conservative Party lawmakers who will vote on who they want to be the next prime minister, a source said.
The president understood the situation and said he looked forward to catching up at a later date, the source said. Their call lasted for around 20 minutes, the source said.
Trump earlier promised Britain a substantial post-Brexit trade deal, joking to May that she should stick around to clinch it though she is due to step down in two days’ time.
“We’ll have a very, very substantial trade deal, it’ll be a very fair deal, and I think it’s something we both want to do,” Trump told May at a meeting in St James’s Palace, a 500-year-old official residence of the monarch.
The state visit, promised by May back in January 2017 when she became the first foreign leader to meet him after he took office, is cast as a chance to celebrate Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States, boost trade links and reaffirm security cooperation.
But the collapse of May’s premiership over Brexit and Trump’s penchant for ignoring the conventions of modern diplomacy have made the trip one of the most unconventional state visits in recent British history.
Ahead of the visit, Trump praised Johnson, saying he would make a “very good” prime minister, and advised a sharp exit from the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
Trump also called for arch-Brexiteer Farage, a scourge of May’s ruling Conservative Party, to conduct talks with the EU.