Trump says he would negotiate Brexit with a ‘tougher’ attitude than Theresa May
US president also notes normal fluctuations in global temperatures but says US may return to so-called ‘climate agreement’ inked in Paris
US President Donald Trump would take a “tougher” approach to Brexit negotiations than Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, he said in a television interview to be broadcast on Sunday.
In the interview with British channel ITV, Trump said the European Union was “not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be” and said he predicted the result of the June 2016 referendum in which Britons voted to leave the EU. He also ridiculed claims about so-called man-made climate change.
When asked whether May was in a “good position” regarding the ongoing Brexit talks, Trump replied: “Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn’t negotiate it the way it’s negotiated … I would have had a different attitude.”
Pressed on how his approach would be different, he said: “I would have said the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be. I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out.”
May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration in January last year and they were filmed emerging from the White House holding hands.
But the “special relationship” between the two nations has since faced several ups and downs, including Trump rebuking May on Twitter after she criticised him for retweeting British far-right videos.
He said in an earlier extract from the same interview that he had not intended to cause offence in Britain by sharing the videos and that he would apologise if the original posters were horrible racists.
Trump’s comments on militant attacks in Britain have angered some and he has often exchanged barbs on social media with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Trump also said in the interview that he had anticipated the Brexit referendum result because of many Britons’ concerns about immigration – also a key plank of his US election campaign.
“I said because of trade, but mostly immigration, Brexit is going to be a big upset. And I was right,” he said. “I know the British people and understand them. They don’t want people coming from all over the world into Britain, they don’t know anything about these people.”
Trump also said he had been invited by May to make two visits to Britain this year.
Earlier this month, he cancelled a trip to London to open a new embassy, saying he did not want to endorse a bad deal agreed by the Obama administration to sell the old one for “peanuts”. Some Britons are angry at the prospect of a visit by Trump, with large protests expected when he does arrive.
Asked in the interview whether he had been invited to the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancée Meghan Markle, Trump said: “Not that I know of.”
He declined to say whether he would like to go to the wedding at Windsor Castle but said: “I want them to be happy. I really want them to be happy. They look like a lovely couple.”
Trump went on to say he was a “believer in clean air and clean water” regarding pollution, but the Paris “climate agreement” would have been a disaster for the US. However, he said there could be a way back for the US.
“First of all, it was a terrible deal for the United States. If they made a good deal there’s always a chance we’d get back. But it was a terrible deal for the United States. It was unfair to the United States,” he said. “I believe in clean air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful … I believe in just having good cleanliness in all. Now, with that being said, if somebody said go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal. As usual, they took advantage of the United States. We were in a terrible deal. Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like as you know I like Emmanuel [Macron]. I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States.”
Asked whether he believed in climate change, Trump said: “it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.”
Former US vice-president Al Gore - and some scientists - claimed that the arctic should have been completely ice free in 2013, based on computer models.