In explosive interview, Trump says Theresa May's Brexit plan will 'kill' a US-UK trade deal

  • President Donald Trump has said British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans will "probably kill" any US-UK trade deal.
  • The US president made an explosive intervention into British politics in an interview with The Sun published Thursday.
  • His remarks seem certain to cause political chaos in the UK and could imperil the prime minister's leadership.

President Donald Trump has said British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed Brexit plan will "probably kill" off any chance of a UK-US trade deal.

Trump's remarks, made in a bombshell interview with The Sun published Thursday during his first visit to Britain as US president, are an explosive intervention into British politics that seem likely to cause political chaos and imperil the prime minister as she attempts to negotiate Britain's exit from the European Union.

May's proposal was finalized Friday and quickly sparked a slew of high-profile political resignations from her Cabinet, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis, over concerns the plans would leave the UK too closely linked to the EU.

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Beach town that voted Brexit wants England to hurry up
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Beach town that voted Brexit wants England to hurry up
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"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 said, according to The Sun.

He added: "If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made."

Trump personally criticized May's handling of Brexit, saying that her so-called soft-Brexit approach went "the opposite way" to what he had recommended and that it was "very unfortunate."

Trump attended a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace with May on Thursday evening, where the TV network ITV reports May planned to pitch the president on a free-trade agreement between the UK and the US after Brexit. But Trump's interview with The Sun now leaves that prospect in doubt — and puts May in a vulnerable position.

Many Conservative members of Parliament who support Brexit are already in open revolt over her proposals — Johnson said they would turn the UK into an EU "colony" — and Trump's remarks are sure to inflame their concerns. May is already believed to be dangerously close to a vote of no confidence by her party.

The prime minister's plan "will definitely affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way," Trump said.

"We have enough difficulty with the European Union. We are cracking down right now on the European Union because they have not treated the United States fairly on trading.

"No, if they do that, I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States."

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in UK
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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in UK
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Marine One, carrying U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on their first official visit to Britain, flies in over London Central Mosque in Regent's Park on its way to the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Stansted Airport, for their first official visit to Britain, and are met by Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, Stansted, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One, for their first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Armed police await the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump on Air Force One, for his first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Armed police await the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump on Air Force One, for his first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Security personnel wait by the presidential helicopter for U.S. President Donald Trump to arrive on Air Force One, for his first official visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Here's the front page of The Sun for Friday:

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