On Thursday evening, British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted a lavish black-tie dinner for President Trump at Blenheim Palace. The Brexit plan her government published earlier Thursday offers "an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the U.K. and right across the United States," May said in her effusive remarks, in which she also name-checked Sir Winston Churchill. As the dinner was breaking up and guests were leaving, British tabloid The Sun crashed the party:
Tomorrow's front page: Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump accuses the PM of wrecking Brexit - and warns she may have killed off any chance of a vital US trade deal - full story HERE at 11pm https://t.co/JRrMjQDTBq pic.twitter.com/udCjYWQeeQ
— The Sun (@TheSun) July 12, 2018
In a Wednesday interview with The Sun published Thursday night, Trump trashed May's "soft" Brexit plan, saying he "would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't listen to me." He said if May follows through with her plan, "it will probably kill the deal" between the U.S. and Britain, a May imperative. And Trump praised May's Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign minister on Monday in protest of her Brexit strategy. "I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me and says very good things about me," Trump said, adding that Johnson "would be a great prime minister." He also criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
May's office didn't respond immediately to the protocol-bashing diplomatic broadside. The White House, which expected the interview to be published Friday, went into damage-control mode. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted in a statement that Trump "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much" and thinks she's "a really terrific person." A senior White House official told The Washington Post that "there's no way Trump will apologize. ... But we also don't want to blow everything up." Peter Weber