Donald Trump began a protest-laden trip to Britain on Thursday by questioning whether Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver on U.K. voters’ intentions when they decided to quit the EU.
Ignoring all diplomatic niceties, the convention-shredding U.S. President set up the four-day visit with a rebuke of his beleaguered host as she battles to stop her government falling apart over Brexit.
Shrugging off the plans for mass protests, which on Friday will include a giant baby-shaped blimp bearing Mr. Trump’s features, he said in Brussels: “They like me a lot in the U.K. I think they agree with me on immigration. “I think that’s why Brexit happened,” he told a news conference before flying to Stansted Airport north of London.
He said Britain was “a pretty hot spot right now with a lot of resignations. The people voted to break it up (Britain’s ties with the EU),” Mr. Trump said.
“So I would imagine that’s what they will do, but maybe they will take a little bit of a different route. I don’t know (if) that is what they voted for,” he added. “I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly.”
When asked about Mr. Trump’s remarks, Ms. May said in Brussels: “What we are doing is delivering on the vote of the British people… that’s what our proposal does.”
Mr. Trump is doing his best to avoid the mass protests planned for his controversial trip, which will include talks with Ms. May, tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private weekend in Scotland.
Some 77% of Britons have an unfavourable view of Trump, according to a poll by YouGov with 1,648 respondents. The poll conducted this week said 63% found Mr. Trump racist, and 74% said he was sexist.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who signed off on the so-called ‘Baby Trump’ blimp, defended the decision on Thursday, arguing the protests were not anti-American but emblematic of free speech.
“Now, more than ever we have a responsibility to stand up for our values and ensure our voice is heard around the world,” he wrote in London’s
Despite a series of diplomatic spats between Britain and Mr. Trump, the British government is hoping for a quick trade deal with the U.S. after it leaves the EU.
“There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the U.S. and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead,” Ms. May said ahead of the visit.
But Brexit champion Nigel Farage predicted there would be a “real clash” on Brexit. “I would love to say that I think this is going to be a hugely successful visit but I think it’s going to be very difficult,” he said at a pro-Trump gathering in Parliament. Mr. Trump is due to leave Britain on Sunday for talks in Helsinki the following day with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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