Trump UK visit: President backs Boris Johnson for prime minister as 'aides prepare for them to meet'

'I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent', US president says

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Friday 31 May 2019 23:38
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Donald Trump lavishes praise on 'great' Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage amid Tory leadership race

Donald Trump has risked sparking a diplomatic row ahead of his state visit to the UK by declaring that Boris Johnson would be "an excellent" prime minister.

Wading into the Conservative leadership contest, the US president described the foreign secretary as a "very good guy" who would "do a very good" as the successor to Theresa May.

Mr Trump arrives in the UK on Monday for a three-day state visit. It is highly unconventional for a sitting US president to involve themselves in a UK political leadership contest.

His comments came as Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, said he had been “banned” from meeting the US president.

In an interview with The Sun ahead of his visit, Mr Trump said: “I've actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players. I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent.”

He added: “I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.

“He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Mr Trump also claimed that other candidates in the Tory leadership race had asked him to endorse them.

He said: “Other people have asked me for an endorsement too. I have been asked for endorsements”.

He added: “I could help anybody if I endorse them. I mean, we’ve had endorsement where they have gone up for 40, 50 points at a shot.

“Now that is here, but I understand over there it would be a great endorsement.”

Mr Trump has previously spoken of his admiration for Mr Johnson and Mr Farage.

According to The Times, senior White House officials are preparing for a meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Johnson.

Tory leadership race: Boris Johnson in profile

Mr Farage, however, said he has been “banned” from meeting Mr Trump during his visit.

He told the Daily Express that the US president's team had been told by No 10 not to arrange a meeting.

Mr Farage said: “Isn’t that absolutely bizarre? Doesn’t it sum up why British politics needs to change?”

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