UK’s Brexit Plan ‘Will Probably Kill’ US Trade Deal, Trump Says Embarrassing May
US President Donald Trump has declared that the UK will “probably not” get a free trade deal with the United States if the British government and the European Union implement Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
The Brexit blueprint of the May Cabinet was released on Thursday in the wake of high profile resignations caused by its adoption: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned from May’s Cabinet on Monday, a day after Brexit Secretary David Davis did the same.
The plan provides for Britain to remain in the European single market on goods, though not on services, with the UK and the EU remaining a “combined customs territory” after Brexit.
It is far from certain that the plan will be accepted by the European Union largely because of the decoupling of goods and services that it stipulates.
US President Donald Trump, however, told The Sun in an interview that May’s plan would “probably kill the deal” because it would mean the US “would be dealing with the European Union” instead of with the UK regardless of Brexit.
Trump gave the interview while he was still in Brussels but news about its publication broke just as he was already in the UK attending a black-tie dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May, the BBC reports.
The comments of the US President appear to be a cold shower and even embarrassment for May who has been arguing that Brexit will create an opportunity to boost US – UK trade with a free trade agreement.
Trump’s comments notably came on the same day the UK government published its white paper on Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.
Donald and Melania Trump were given a red carpet reception at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire on Thursday evening.
Possibly adding to May’s embarrassment, in his interview for The Sun, the US President also said that the now former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make a “great prime minister”.
“I think he’s got what it takes,” Trump stated.
In his interview, he also blasted London Mayor Sadiq Khan over last year’s terrorist attacks in the UK capital, saying he had done “a terrible job”.
The US President argued that the UK’s blueprint for its post-Brexit relations with the EU was “a much different deal than the people voted on”.
“[The British Cabinet’s plan would mean] most likely … [that] we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump declared, while revealing that he told May how to do a Brexit deal.
“She didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me… I told her how to do it. That will be up to her to say. But I told her how to do it. She wanted to go a different route,” he said.
Trump further stated he was “cracking down” on the EU because “they have not treated the United States fairly on trading”.
At the time the news about Trump’s interview came out, at Thursday’s dinner, British Prime Minister May said that more than one million Americans work for UK-owned firms.
“As we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more. It’s an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the UK and right across the United States,” she told the US President.
Earlier May had responded to a suggestion by Trump that the British people were not getting the Brexit they voted for by stating,
“We have come to an agreement on the proposal we are putting to the European Union which absolutely delivers on the Brexit we voted for.”
(Banner image: TV grab from Sky News)