Trump Warns Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal May Hamper Future Trade with UK
British prime minister warned future trade deals with America could be imperilled
President Donald Trump has warned that Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with the EU could hamper future trade between the UK and the US.
Downing Street responded by defending PM Johnson's Brexit deal, saying that leaving the European Union customs union will free the UK to strike trade deals around the world, benefitting every part of the United Kingdom.
It follows President Trump's move to break with convention by backing Mr. Johnson for the upcoming general election - even though the campaign hasn't officially started.
Responding to Trump's comments about a US-UK trade agreement, Downing Street released a statement saying:
"Under this new deal, the whole of the UK will leave the EU customs union, which means we can strike our own free trade deals around the world from which every part of the UK will benefit."
Trump issued the warning during an interview by phone on Thursday by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage - Johnson's rival in the upcoming British election on December 12.
The president said that a U.S.-U.K. trade deal would be impossible under the current terms of Brexit, which Johnson reached with the European Union.
“We want to do trade with the U.K. and they want to do trade with us. And to be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal, you can’t do it,” Trump told Farage on his radio show on London station LBC, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“You can’t trade. We can’t make a trade deal with the U.K.”
The British government, however, has said that under Johnson’s Brexit agreement, the U.K. would be removed from the EU’s customs area and it would be free of the EU’s regulations, allowing it to sign bilateral trade deals with the U.S. and other countries.
Trump's appearance on Farage’s show sends a mixed political signal, as Trump and Johnson have typically been closely aligned.
Johnson’s left-wing rival, socialist Jeremy Corbyn, accused him in August of intending to lead the U.K. “straight into the arms” of Trump.
During the interview, Trump said of the Labour leader: "Corbyn would be so bad for your country.
"He'd be so bad, he'd take you in such a bad way. He'd take you into such bad places."
Donald Trump is trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 31, 2019
It was Trump who said in June the NHS is “on the table”. And he knows if Labour wins US corporations won’t get their hands on it.
Our NHS is not for sale.pic.twitter.com/AUhht3pCgL
Farage’s Brexit party criticizes Johnson from the right, calling for an abrupt split from the union rather than any sort of agreement.
On Thursday, Corbyn on Twitter accused Trump of “trying to interfere in UK election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected” after Trump said that Corbyn would be “so bad” for Britain if elected.
Britain agreed Wednesday to hold a general election on Dec. 12 in an effort to shake up Parliament and break the months-long Brexit stalemate.
The European Union has extended Britain's Brexit deadline to January 31.
Even so, Trump said Johnson is a “fantastic man” who is “exactly the right guy for the times.”
He said he’d like to see an electoral pact between Johnson’s Conservatives and Farage’s Brexit Party, saying the two together would be an “unstoppable force.”
Neither party has indicated such a deal is on the table.