Friday's meeting was always likely to be a bit tense. Just hours earlier, tabloid newspaper the Sun had published an interview with Trump where he said that May's Brexit proposals were terrible and that Boris Johnson, who made a swift departure from May's cabinet on Monday amidst a rebellion over the deal, would make a good prime minister.So when journalists asked him how that had gone down when he met May this morning, Trump cried "fake news"."Unfortunately there was a story that was done and it was generally fine but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister," he said."I said tremendous things. Fortunately we tend to record stories now, so we have it, so we can have it for your enjoyment if you’d like it. We record when we deal with reporters — it’s called 'fake news'."
Funnily enough, the Sun recorded the interview too, and published the audio on its website earlier on Friday.Trump said what the Sun says he said.The White House's communications director Sarah Sanders has said they will release their recording of the interview when she gets it.What did May think of all this? "She said, ‘Don’t worry, it's only the press'," according to Trump.
The Sun later put out a statement defending the story, but questioned whether Trump called it "fake news" with any real seriousness.
Trump has a well-publicised dislike of CNN, so it wasn't entirely surprising when he brazenly dismissed one of their journalists."CNN is fake news; I don't take questions from CNN," he said, instead asking Fox News reporter John Roberts if he had a question. "Lets call on a real network," he added.Did May intervene to hear out CNN? Questions were directed at both leaders, after all.
No, she did not.
"I think they'd better watch themselves, because you are changing culture, you are changing a lot of things," he said of Europe's immigration policies, reiterating comments he'd made in the Sun interview, where he suggested that whole areas were unrecognisable due to the arrival of people from outside Europe."It's a very sad situation. It's very unfortunate," Trump added.
He didn't forget to mention the US, where strict immigration policies have recently led to parents being separated from their children at the US–Mexico border, and pregnant women have experienced miscarriages while in detention."We have very bad immigration laws and we're doing incredibly well given that we don't even have immigration laws," he said.
"You just walk across the border and you're in. We have laws so bad, I don't even call them laws."
This was one point where May disagreed with Trump."The UK has a proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution," she said."Immigration has been good for the UK."But she was still keen to remind us that ending freedom of movement was integral to her vision of Brexit.
"What is important is that we have control over our borders and are able to decide who comes into our country," she added.
Trump opened his golf course in Turnberry, Ayrshire, on 24 June 2016.The Brexit vote took place on 23 June 2016.Trump said he predicted that Britain would vote to leave the European Union.He said this the day after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
Praise for the former foreign secretary punctuated Trump's comments in the run-up to the UK visit, and also featured in that bombshell Sun interview.
So it was with great deftness that May completely swerved the question when she was asked how it felt to hear Trump say that, just days after Johnson had dramatically resigned in protest against the Brexit deal she intends to take to Brussels. The same deal that Johnson had apparently agreed to.
But just in case we weren't clear that Trump is a fan of Johnson, he said again that he thought Johnson would make a good prime minister, like the person actually doing that job wasn't standing a metre away.
Not that he's knocking May. "I also said that this fantastic woman is doing a
great job," Trump added.
We all know how special the "special relationship" between the UK and US is, especially now that the UK has gone and soured its relationship with its 27 closest neighbours with the small matter of Brexit.In fact, the whole purpose of Trump's trip is to remind the world that Britain and the US are BFFs IDST, OK?"Our relationship is the highest level of special, and now especially after these two days I would say it's the highest level of special, the highest level of special," Trump said."Am I allowed to go any higher? These are wonderful people."
In case you were unclear, the relationship between the UK and US is very, very special.In fact, it got even more special at the Blenheim Palace dinner May hosted for Trump and his wife, Melania."Last night I got to know the prime minister better than I ever have," Trump said."I was very embarrassed for the rest of the table — we did so much talking; we've got a lot of shared problems."For her part, May hinted at affection for Trump. "And we are friends, aren't we, Mr President?"Trump, distracted by the next question from the press, didn't answer.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.