Boris Johnson “has got what it takes” to be Prime Minister, Donald Trump has said, in remarks praising the leading Brexiteer as “a very talented guy”.
“I think he is a great representative for your country,” the U.S. President said of Johnson, speaking days after Britain’s former foreign secretary resigned in protest over Theresa May’s Brexit plans.
“I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me,” Trump told The Sun in an interview recorded before he came to the United Kingdom. “I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point.”
Asked if he could imagine Johnson leading the UK one day, Trump said he would not pit the New York-born British MP against his host, but added: “I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister.
“I think he’s got what it takes.”
Delingpole: Trump Backs Boris Johnson’s Brexit Rebellion https://t.co/JkF9qfCuoc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 10, 2018
President Trump doubled down on his comments Friday afternoon in comments delivered to journalists at the Prime Minister’s country retreat, Chequers.
Standing beside Theresa May, he said: “They asked about Boris Johnson, how would he be as a Prime Minister, [and I said] he’d be a great Prime Minister, he’s been very nice to me, he’s been saying very good things about me as President… Boris Johnson would be a great Prime Minister.”
But the President was also clear to express that his favourable impression of Johnson did not mean the time for the end of May’s leadership had come. Complimenting the Prime Minister with whom he was sharing a stage, President Trump continued: “This incredible woman right here is doing a fantastic job, a great job. I mean that.
“I must say, I’ve gotten to know Theresa May much better over the last two days than I’ve known her over the last year and a half… I think she’s a terrific woman, and I think she’s doing a terrific job. That Brexit is a very tough situation, it’s a very tough deal.”
May’s leadership has been looking shaky since the vision for a super-soft EU withdrawal — slammed as a “Brexit in name only” — she unveiled over the weekend at Chequers, prompting several ministers to quit their posts.
In a letter of resignation sent on Monday, Johnson warned Brexit was “dying”, and that the nation was headed towards becoming a mere “colony” of Brussels under the Prime Minister’s plans.
In December 2015, almost a year before Trump’s historic election victory, the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP had joined other UK political figures expressing outrage at the then-candidate’s populist talking points, claiming that the property magnate was “unfit for office”.
Relations between the pair have since warmed, with audio leaked in June revealing Johnson told activists at a private dinner he had become “increasingly admiring” of the U.S. President, whose “energetic” diplomatic style he said would be good for Brexit negotiations.
While the two political figures have regularly been linked by critics and fans alike for their shared backing of Brexit and vibrant blonde hairstyles, there are significant policy differences between them, with Johnson’s repeated calls for Britain to give illegal immigrants amnesty contrasting sharply with Trump’s tough approach to border control.