US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson says Donald Trump will make decision whether to see Boris Johnson

Trump will meet Boris Johnson during UK visit if he wants to, US ambassador says

'If the president wants to do it and he feels it’s appropriate to do it, he’ll make that decision'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 11 July 2018 09:57

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, has suggested Donald Trump will meet Boris Johnson during his visit to Britain if he wishes despite it not being on his official agenda.

His remarks come as the US president prepares to arrive in Britain tomorrow for his first presidential visit and just hours after he lavished praise on the recently resigned foreign secretary and suggested the country was in “turmoil”.

Asked whether Mr Trump would be making time in his schedule to see Mr Johnson, who dramatically resigned from the government over Theresa May's Brexit plans on Monday, the ambassador replied: “Is he going to make time? I’m not sure. It’s not on the schedule but the President makes his own schedule."

Pressed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the US embassy would make it “possible”, he added: “Well, yes. We’ll make everything possible if the president wants to do something.

“Boris Johnson has been a friend of the president – he was a friend during the election. He has a warm and close relationship with him.

“If the President wants to do it and he feels it’s appropriate to do it, he’ll make that decision.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of his flight to the Nato summit on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine, he’s been very, very nice to me, very supportive. And I maybe will speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him."

A meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Johnson is likely to prove embarrassing for the prime minister as she attempts to assert control over the warring Conservative party.

But ambassador Johnson appeared to distance himself from the president’s assertion that the country was in a state of turmoil, adding: “Well, there’s always turmoil in every country, but no. I think the UK is proceeding the way it always does – it’s a very confident country, very capable country.

“We’re extremely confident in the ability of the UK to plough through this issue with Brexit and move on.”

The ambassador is expected to be beside Mr Trump for much of his visit to the UK, which will have one of the biggest ever police operations in place with significant demonstrations expected to happen in London on Friday.

Thousands of officers will be on duty to cover the visit, during which Mr Trump is expected to visit locations including Blenheim Palace, Chequers, Windsor Castle, the US ambassador's official residence in Regent's Park, London, and Scotland.

Pressed on how he would characterise Mr Trump’s relationship with the prime minister, the ambassador added: “Well one of things you can do is look at the evidence. She was the first foreign dignitary to visit the US when he became President, so I think that symbolises how he considers the importance of her leadership in this country right now.”

“I think she's an amazing leader at this point, where she has a fragile leadership, and being able to get through these issues the way she has is an example of strong leadership.”

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