Trump has suggested he may meet with former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading defector from the rapidly collapsing regime of Prime Minister Theresa May during his visit to the island nation on Thursday, praising him as a “friend”.
“Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me, very supportive. Maybe I’ll speak to him when I get over there,” Trump told reporters. “I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson said he would be willing to set up a meeting if the President desired.
“We’ll make everything possible if the president wants to do something. Boris Johnson has been a friend of the president, was a friend during the election and he has a warm and close relationship with the president,” Woody Johnson said. “I think you have to give all the protagonists, whether it’s the president or the prime minister, a little bit of leeway here. If the president wants to do it, and he feels it’s appropriate to do it, he’ll make that decision.”
Trump also described the UK as in “turmoil”, and suggested his meeting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on Monday may well be easier than dealing with the beleaguered British leadership.
“The UK, that’s a situation that’s been going on for a long time. I have NATO, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all, who would think? Who would think?” Trump said. “But the UK certainly – they certainly have a lot of things going on.”
Trump notably refrained from giving his backing to Theresa May’s continued authoritarian rule.
“Well that’s up to the people. I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship,” he stated. “That’s certainly up to the people, not up to me.”
Trump has previously criticized the British premier for being too “politically correct”, and is said to have a fraught relationship with her in private. His rapport with fellow Brexit supporter Boris Johnson is much warmer, with Trump claiming it was a “great honor” for him to be physically compared to Johnson during an encounter at last year’s NATO summit, and Johnson privately suggesting Trump would’ve fared much better than May had he been leading Brexit negotiations.
Johnson resigned from his senior post in the British government after May declared her support for a deal which would maintain many aspects of Britain’s membership of the European Union, heavily undermining the democratic vote of the British people in the groundbreaking 2016 referendum. He is now widely speculated to be seeking to challenge Theresa May’s premiership in order to mount his own bid for his nation’s highest office.
With a slim majority in the British House of Commons and many in her Conservative Party prepared to defect, May has turned to the left for political support. According to reports, her chief of staff is now courting opposition parties such as the Liberal Democrats, and the Labour Party, led by dangerous anti-American communist Jeremy Corbyn, in order to get the requisite votes to pass her betrayal of Brexit. Should this take place, there is a growing possibility that Conservative MPs will depose May as Prime Minister and install Johnson or another pro-Brexit figure as their nation’s leader.