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“Well, I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told Jeff Glor at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland. “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”
He added: “I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills.”
European Council President Donald Tusk later defended the EU’s relationship with the U.S., tweeting on Saturday: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”
Trump‘s comments capped a series of explosive and undiplomatic remarks he made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”
The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and couldn’t have come at a worse time for May, who is facing a crisis over Brexit from within her own ranks. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.
He denied he criticized May, saying the Sun tabloid did not print his complimentary remarks about the British leader, but the Sun released audio that proved otherwise.
Asked to rate U.S.-U.K. relations, Trump gave them the “highest level of special.” He added it was up to May how to handle Brexit, though he wants to ensure the U.S. “can trade and we don’t have any restrictions” on commerce with the United Kingdom.
May’s government has just published its long-awaited Brexit plans, which propose to keep Britain and the EU in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for services. That has infuriated fervent Brexit supporters, who see it as a bad deal. Along with Johnson, the man who had been leading the Brexit negotiations, David Davis, also quit in protest.
May on Sunday warned party rebels they should fall into line, saying wrecking her Brexit blueprint could result in disaster.
“We need to keep our eyes on the prize. If we don’t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all,” she wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
She acknowledged that some lawmakers had doubts about her plans to stick to a “common rulebook” with the bloc for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks, but insisted she couldn’t see a viable alternative.
Britain’s status as part of the EU’s single market and tariff-free customs union for goods will end after the U.K. leaves the bloc in March.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump is revoking former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. Brennan has been a prominent critic of Trump‘s policies, words and actions.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego