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Trump backs Johnson as next UK prime minister

June 1, 2019

US President Donald Trump has said former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would be an "excellent" choice as the next prime minister of the UK. He also suggested that the American wife of Prince Harry was "nasty."

Boris Johnson
Image: picture-alliance/empics/B. Lawless

US President Donald Trump has once more waded into British domestic politics, giving his opinion on who he thinks would be a good successor to current Prime Minister Theresa May, who is set to resign on June 7.

"I have actually studied it very hard. I know the different players," he told The Sun tabloid in an interview published late on Friday.

"But I think Boris would do a good job," he said, referring to New York-born former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who also served as British foreign secretary. "I think he would be excellent."

Read more: Who is Boris Johnson, Brexit champion and wannabe British PM?

Trump verhängt Strafzölle gegen Mexiko
Trump's comments on British domestic politics are a deviation from standard presidential practice Image: Reuters/K. Lamarque

Prized endorsements

Trump told the newspaper that his endorsement had also been sought by other candidates for the position and that his good opinion would vastly raise any candidate's chance of being chosen.

"I don't want to say who but other people have asked me for endorsements, yes," he said. "I could help anybody if I endorse them. I mean, we've had endorsements where they have gone up for forty, fifty points at a shot."

As in an interview before his first official visit to Britain last year, the US leader once more criticized the present prime minister, saying May had failed to assert British interests enough in negotiations to leave the European Union.

"I think that the UK allowed the European Union to have all the cards. And it is very hard to play well when one side has all the advantages," he said.

May's resignation has come about because of her failure to produce any deal to bring Britain out of the EU that was acceptable to a parliamentary majority. The scheduled date of departure, initially March 29, has now been delayed to October 31.

Theresa May London Statement
May has thrice failed to get her deal through ParliamentImage: Reuters/T. Melville


Trump also had harsh words to say about the wife of British Prince Harry, American former actress Meghan Markle, who had criticized the ex-reality show host during his 2016 presidential campaign.

"What can I say? I didn't know that she was nasty," he said of the now Duchess of Sussex, adding, however, that she would do "excellently" in her royal role.

Markle made comments on TV in 2016 in which she called Trump misogynistic and divisive, and even said she would move to Canada if he became president.

During his three-day visit to Britain starting Monday, the president will be meeting with other members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II and Harry's father, Prince Charles, but no meeting with the duchess is planned.

During his first visit to the UK, Trump was met with an inflatable image of himself
During his first visit to the UK, Trump was met with an inflatable image of himself Image: picture-alliance/ZUMA/London NEws Pictures/J. Goodman

The US president went on to express confidence that he would receive a warm welcome in Britain, despite the protests that are expected to accompany his visit.

"I think I am really — I hope — I am really loved in the UK," he said.

Read more: Tracing Meghan Markle's 'German roots' 

tj/jm (AFP, dpa)

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