President Trump's brutal interview with British tabloid The Sun is the equivalent of "coming in and kicking Prime Minister [Theresa] May while she’s down," NBC's Hallie Jackson said on Friday's Today. Hours after The Sun published the interview, Trump and May met Friday morning at the prime minister's country estate Chequers, and Trump was "staying mum" about his comments to the tabloid, Jackson said.
“This is the equivalent of President Trump coming in and kicking Prime Minister May while she’s down.” @halliejackson reports on Trump’s latest comments about May/Brexit ahead of their news conference pic.twitter.com/wJtuEK8Pnw
Trump said that during their 90 minutes of conversation over dinner, he and May "probably never developed a better relationship than last night." He said, then repeated, that "the relationship is very strong," not quite addressing the questions about his Sun interview. May said she and Trump are "going to discuss the real opportunities we've got for a fantastic trade deal when we leave the European Union." In his interview, Trump said May's Brexit plan endangered a U.S.-Britain trade deal.
Meanwhile, Britons are staging a high-profile protest of Trump, including that Trump baby blimp flying over Parliament. You can get a sample of the protests below. Peter Weber
“We think Winston Churchill would be turning in his grave.” President Trump protesters hit the streets of London during his first visit to Great Britain pic.twitter.com/DBbo0gPGp6
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:
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