LONDON — Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would prevent the U.K. from striking a trade agreement with the U.S., Donald Trump said.
Speaking to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on LBC radio, the U.S. president said: “To be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal, you can’t do it. You can’t trade. We can’t make a trade deal with the U.K.”
Trump added that under the Brexit deal agreed between Boris Johnson’s government and the EU, “under certain ways we’re precluded.” He said that was “completely ridiculous.”
“We want to do trade with U.K. and they want to do trade with us,” Trump said, suggesting that trade between the two countries “could be four to five times higher.”
“You’re being held back by the European Union,” the U.S. president said of the U.K. “They’re very tough people to deal with.”
The comments are reminiscent of July 2018, when Trump dealt Theresa May a severe blow when he said the then prime minister’s Brexit strategy was likely to “kill” the chances of a trade deal with the U.S.
His comments to LBC now threaten to jeopardize Johnson’s election campaign. The prime minister has promised to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.S. after delivering Brexit.
Nevertheless, Trump lavished praise on Johnson, saying he was a “fantastic man” and “the exact right guy for the times.”
“Boris and I have a great friendship. We’ve become friends,” he said. “When he was running, they were saying, ‘he’s the Trump, he’s the Trump.’ We have a lot of the same things going.”
The U.S. president urged Farage and Johnson to strike an electoral pact. “I’d like to see you and Boris get together ’cause you would really have some numbers because you did fantastically in the last election,” he told Farage. “If you and he get together it’s, you know, unstoppable force.”
Of opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Trump said: “I’m sure he’s a lovely man, but he’s of a different persuasion, to put it mildly.” Corbyn would be “so bad for your country” and “take you into such bad places,” he said.
Corbyn responded on Twitter, saying that, “Donald Trump is trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.”
Corbyn has claimed that Johnson’s planned trade deal with Trump would give U.S. companies access to the National Health Service and drive up the price of drugs. “The U.S. has called for full market access to our NHS — which would mean prices for some of our most important medicines increasing up to sevenfold,” Corbyn said on Wednesday at prime minister’s questions.
Asked about this by Farage, Trump said the suggestion was “ridiculous.” “We wouldn’t even be involved in that. We’re trying to fix our health service. We all have our health service problems,” he said, adding that Corbyn had “put that out there.”
Of May, Trump said: “I liked her very much” but added: “I did not agree with her on certain things … I told her exactly how to make the deal but she didn’t listen to me, and that’s okay.”
Asked whether Brexit or his reelection as president would happen first, Trump said Brexit, but added he was disappointed it had not happened yet. “People are tired of hearing about it, we’re even tired of hearing about it over here.”
The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.