Farage says UK can 'do business' with Trump after becoming first British politician to meet President-elect

Meeting is further snub on Theresa May after President-elect delays victory phone call

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 12 November 2016 20:23
Nigel Farage the first UK politician to meet Trump since election

Nigel Farage has become the first British politician to meet Donald Trump following his election victory in the latest snub to the Prime Minister, amid continuing demonstrations against the shock result.

“It was a great honour to spend time with Donald Trump,” Mr Farage wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of himself and the billionaire grinning in front of a golden door.

“He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I'm confident he will be a good President.

Nigel Farage arriving for meeting at Trump Tower in New York on 12 November

"Mr Trump's support for the US-UK relationship is very strong. This is a man with whom we can do business."

Mr Farage told assembled journalists he was only a “tourist” as he entered Trump Tower in New York on Saturday, refusing to confirm whether he is taking a role in the transition from Barack Obama’s leadership.

He made a dig at the outgoing President following his tête-à-tête with his sucessor, saying he was "especially pleased at Mr Trump's very positive reaction to idea that Sir Winston Churchill's bust should be put back in Oval Office”.

The sculpture was the subject of a minor scandal earlier this year after Mr Obama admitted moving the wartime Prime Minister's head from its customary place, prompting Boris Johnson to suggest he harboured an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire" because of his Kenyan heritage.

Kellyanne Conway, the manager of Mr Trump's election campaign, confirmed Mr Farage met the President-elect upstairs in Trump Tower, where he was spending time with his family, receiving phone calls and visitors.

“I think they enjoy each other's company, and they actually had a chance to talk about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world,” she said.

The interim Ukip leader was originally scheduled to meet Mr Trump's inner circle rather than the President-elect himself, but party sources later said the pair met and discussed "freedom and winning".

Mr Farage's appearance came as thousands of people gathered outside the landmark for a fourth day of protests against Donald Trump’s victory, which were also taking place in cities including Los Angeles and Chicago.

Michael Moore, the documentary film-maker, also attempted to visit the billionaire’s headquarters on Saturday, having heavily criticised the Democratic campaign and failure to engage with Trump voters’ concerns.

He and his camera crew were stopped by the Secret Service on the fourth floor. “I just thought I'd see if I could get into Trump Tower and ride the famous escalator,” said Mr Moore.

Mr Farage supported Mr Trump during his divisive campaign, making an appearance in front of thousands of supporters at a campaign rally, and has repeatedly praised the Republican.

Mr Trump has returned his compliments and expressed his support for Britain's vote to leave the European Union, calling his election victory "Brexit plus plus plus" ahead of the vote.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Farage insisted the President-elect would have to meet Theresa May, who he snubbed by calling other world leaders ahead of her on Wednesday.

Asked by Fox News why Mr Trump should meet the Prime Minister after her team was “rude”, the MEP called for fences to be mended.

“Trump is an Anglophile, he understands and recognises what our two great nations have done together between us,” he added.

"And, thank goodness, we are coming towards the end of an American president who loathed Britain.

"One of the things we can do, we can have between us a sensible trade relationship, cut tariffs, we are massive investors in each other's countries. There's a bright future."

The Brexit figurehead has joked about sexual assault allegations against his ally, urging him to “schmooze” Ms May - but not grope her. He said he could attend any meeting to be the “responsible adult to make sure everything is OK.”

Mr Farage has said is willing to help the Government build bridges with the President-elect, and one Ukip official even suggested Mr Farage be the next British ambassador to the US.

Several British politicians and political aides attacked Mr Trump during his campaign, when Parliament debated banning him from the UK following a public petition that garnered more than half a million signatures following his call to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

David Cameron described his comments as ”divisive, stupid and wrong“ and said Mr Trump should come to the UK because it would ”unite us all against him“.

Mrs May congratulated Mr Trump on his victory last week but it has since emerged that her two joint chiefs of staff had attacked him on social media before taking up their current posts.

(AFP/Getty Images

Fiona Hill posted last December: "Donald Trump is a chump," while her colleague Nick Timothy wrote in March: "American politics was depressing enough before Trump took off."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was scathing about Mr Trump's attitude to Muslims while he was Mayor of London last December, saying: "I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind if he thinks that's a sensible way to proceed, to ban people going to the United States in that way, or to any country.

"What he's doing is playing the game of the terrorists and those who seek to divide us. That's exactly the kind of reaction they hope to produce.

"I think he's betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States."

Mr Trump is currently holed up in his Manhattan residence with advisers to decide his next move and choose his new administration, having already put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge of the transition instead of Chris Christie

He has sought to strike a conciliatory tone since his election sent a shockwave around the world, announcing on Friday he no longer intended to completely scrap Mr Obama's signature healthcare law, Obamacare.

“This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win!” he tweeted on Saturday, as more than 3,500 people marched toward Trump Tower amid cries of “Trump is NOT my president” and “New York hates you.”

Additional reporting by AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in