Donald Trump says the UK’s Boris Johnson is the ‘right man for the job’ and will be a ‘great prime minister’ who will deliver on Brexit and a trade deal.
Scrambled eggs, veal sausage, toast and a trade deal were on the menu Sunday morning at a breakfast in Biarritz for Trump and Johnson, who were meeting for the first time since the latter became the UK’s leader.
‘He needs no advice. He’s the right man for the job,’ Trump said.
If the slap at Theresa May wasn’t pointed enough, he said it again several minutes later, claiming: ‘This is a different person. This a person who is going to be a great prime minister, in my opinion.’
‘They won’t have an anchor around their ankle,’ he said of the UK’s plans to leave the EU.
Of his own trade war he had to admit that he wasn’t nearly confident as he projects.
‘I have second thoughts about everything!’ he said before asserting that he could declare a national emergency to combat China’s tariffs but has ‘no plan’ to do that right now.
Trump and Johnson have been negotiating directly on a US-UK trade deal, hammering out the details of a trade deal in weekly phone calls with another. They last spoke on Friday, just before Trump’s departure from Washington.
They also had a private chat at a Saturday night dinner, the White House revealed in a photo of the men conversing alone on the sidelines of the summit.
Asked if they talked about Vladimir Putin, and whether he’d be invited to attend next year’s gathering, which will be held in the United States, on Sunday morning, Trump said they did.
‘That I don’t know. We did discuss it,’ he said, adding that it’s ‘certainly possible’ that Putin could be invited.
He proceeded to lecture the press for their coverage of his trip so far, following up on tweets he’d sent earlier in the morning.
Trump had complained: ‘Such False and Inaccurate reporting thus far on the G-7. The Fake News knows this but they can’t help themselves! Leaving now to have breakfast with Boris J.’
‘Before I arrived in France, the Fake and Disgusting News was saying that relations with the 6 others countries in the G-7 are very tense, and that the two days of meetings will be a disaster. Just like they are trying to force a Recession, they are trying to “will” America into bad Economic times, the worse the better, anything to make my Election more difficult to win. Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great – the talk of the world!’
Trump told reporters in the room for his breakfast, ‘You people want a recession, because you think maybe that’s the way to get him out. Maybe that’s the way to get Trump out.’
He was lashing out over coverage of his spat with French President Emmanuel Macon, whom he had lunch with on Saturday.
‘France and President @EmmanuelMacron have done a really great job thus far with a very important G-7. Lunch with Emmanuel was the best meeting we have yet had. Likewise, evening meeting with World Leaders went very well. Progress being made!’ he insisted on Saturday night.
He also claimed, ‘Our great Economy is the talk of everyone!’
Earlier in the day, he’d tweeted, ‘Just had lunch with French President @EmmanuelMacron. Many good things are happening for both of our countries. Big weekend with other world leaders!’
Johnson fired a diplomatic salvo at Trump, warning that a ‘fantastic’ post-Brexit trade deal with Washington could not be sealed unless the President lifted restrictions on British pork pies, cauliflowers and shower trays.
Speaking ahead of a breakfast meeting today between the two men – their first encounter since Mr Johnson entered Downing Street – the Prime Minister told reporters on the flight to the G7 summit in Biarritz that negotiating the crucial deal was ‘not all going to be plain sailing’.
Mr Johnson, who raised his concerns with the President during a phone call on Friday evening, went on to cite numerous, bizarre examples of US restrictions on UK exporters.
‘Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of…some sort of food and drug administration restriction,’ said Mr Johnson.
‘Cauliflowers currently, under US Department of Agriculture restrictions, can only enter specified ports.
‘We’ve sold 250,000 shower trays around the world [but] there is some kind of bureaucratic obstacle that stops us selling them in the US because they are allegedly too low.’
The Prime Minister added: ‘There remain very considerable barriers in the US to British businesses… It is very important if we are going to do a fantastic free trade deal that is a free trade that works in the interests of British business.’
Mr Johnson’s combative approach to the President is designed to signal that a newly-confident post-Brexit Britain will not be ‘rolled over’ by Washington in talks about a trade deal: the Government has been particularly keen to make clear that the NHS will be protected during the negotiations.
The Prime Minister went on to cite bizarre examples including pork pies, cauliflowers and shower trays
He said: ‘It goes without saying that there are sectors of the UK economy, not least the NHS, which remain completely off limits as far as any trade deal with America goes.
‘We will not allow the NHS to be on the table at all. There are massive opportunities for UK companies to open up, to prise open the American market.
‘We intend to seize those opportunities but they are going to require our American friends to compromise and to open up their approach because currently there are too many restrictions.’
Asked whether he was ‘Britain’s Trump’, Mr Johnson swerved the question by saying: ‘I was born in the United States.
‘I think the most important thing for any Prime Minister of the UK is to have a very close, friendly relationship with our most important ally.’
President Trump is also engaged in a war of words with President Emmanuel Macron over France’s digital services tax aimed at American tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
The US President has threatened to retaliate by slapping tariffs on imported French wines.
Mr Johnson held a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday afternoon, during which Mr Johnson promised that the leaders would be ‘working flat out’ because the summit was not a ‘wonderful boondoggle here in some posh hotel in Biarritz’.
Mr Johnson also said that he was ‘horrified’ by the fires in the Amazon basin.
He said: ‘The UK stands ready to help in any way that we can to extinguish the fires and to protect habitat and biodiversity.’
After posing for the traditional G7 ‘family photo’ last night, Mr Johnson joined the other leaders at a dinner hosted by President Macron.
The summit opened with a Brexit war of words between Mr Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk who provocatively warned the Prime Minister not to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal’.
Mr Johnson hit back, telling reporters that it was Mr Tusk who risked being given that title. Mr Johnson said: ‘As I’ve made it absolutely clear, I don’t want a No Deal Brexit but I say to our friends in the EU: if they don’t want a No Deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty.’