Author: Dan Sabbagh
Donald Trump hailed Boris Johnson as a future prime minister, accused the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, of doing “a bad job” on terrorism and said there had been too much immigration in Europe in an incendiary interview that raised questions about the decision to invite him to Britain.
A day before the US president was due to have bilateral talks with Theresa May, Trump used an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun to endorse her principal Tory rival just days after he resigned from the cabinet in protest at her Brexit policy.
Trump described Johnson as “a very talented guy” for whom he had “a lot of respect”. He claimed he was not trying to pit Johnson against his host, but added: “I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”
The president – who has said he would like to see Johnson during his UK trip– added that Johnson “obviously likes me, and says very good things about me. I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country.”
Last month, a leaked recording of Johnson revealed that the former foreign secretary was “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump”. The Conservative MP said that Trump would negotiate Brexit “bloody hard”, adding: “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”
Trump is due to have a summit meeting with May on Friday at lunchtime before meeting the Queen for tea at Windsor Castle and then heading to Scotland. Protests have been organised to follow him everywhere around the UK, with a demonstration planned for Friday afternoon in London where organisers expect tens of thousands to attend.
The president renewed his feud with Khan with a series of heavyhanded comments aimed at Johnson’s successor as London mayor, trying to blame him for the spate of fatal terror attacks in the capital last year at Westminster, London Bridge and outside Finsbury Park mosque.