U.S. President Donald Trump said a free trade deal with Britain might be impossible if it went ahead with Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for post-Brexit ties with the European Union, in a damaging intervention set to further criticism of her plans.
In an interview with Britain’s Sun newspaper published late on Thursday, Trump said May’s plans for a business-friendly Brexit would leave it too close to the EU to allow a new trans-Atlantic trade deal to be struck.
Just hours earlier at a lavish dinner to mark Trump’s first visit to Britain as president, May made a direct pitch for a deal with Washington. She praised the friendship between the two allies, glossing over Trump’s previous remarks that Britain was a “hot spot” in turmoil over Brexit.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump told the Sun, referring to May’s Brexit proposals. “If they do that, then their trade deal with the U.S. will probably not be made.”
Trump’s intervention comes at the end of a tumultuous few days for May. Two senior ministers resigned in protest this week at her plans for trade with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc next March.