Trump on Appeaser Theresa’s Brexit Negotiations: ‘I Would Have Taken a Tougher Stand’
U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated he is unimpressed by Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to the Brexit negotiations, saying he would have been far tougher.
“I would have said that the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be,” the President tells ITV in an interview set to air in full at 10 pm GMT tonight, on Sunday the 28th of January.
“I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out,” he adds.
Asked for his take on May’s approach to the negotiations as they proceed to their second phase, which will focus on the future trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, the President is reported as saying: “Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn’t negotiate it the way it’s [being] negotiated … I would have had a different attitude.”
May, who supported the Remain campaign during the EU referendum, has made a huge number of concessions to Brussels already, including an agreement to align Britain’s regulations with the European Union’s after Brexit, pay an exit fee in the tens of billions of pounds, and accept the continued jurisdiction of the EU court in a number of key areas.
President Trump, unlike Democrat predecessor Barack Obama, supported Brexit enthusiastically even before the vote to Leave the European Union in June 2016.
“Britain’s decision to leave the European Union takes your country into new territory,” observed Robert Wood Johnson, Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, in late 2017.
“But you are not heading there on your own. The United States is committed to standing with the UK through Brexit … As far as the President is concerned, the United Kingdom, our most enduring ally, is always at the head of the line.”
This is in stark contrast to the stance of Obama and his would-be successor Hilary Clinton, who both threatened that Britain would be sent to “the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the U.S. if it left the bloc — threats which backfired, causing a Brexit bounce in the polls.
President Trump told ITV that he believes the British public voted for Brexit “because of trade, but mostly immigration”.
The EU does not allow its member-states to conduct an independent trade policy — which is why Britain has been unable to make deals with important partners like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, etc. — and also requires its member-states to accept unlimited and largely unvetted intra-bloc immigration.
The EU also interferes with Britain’s ability to tackle illegal immigration from third countries in a number of important ways.
“I know the British people and understand them. They don’t want people coming from all over the world into Britain,” the President observes.
EU leaders have shown little sign of coming to a similar understanding since the Brexit vote, with the bloc’s Commissioner for Migration declaring, “It’s time to face the truth. We cannot and will never be able to stop migration,” in a recent opinion piece.
“Migration is deeply intertwined with our policies on economics, trade, education and employment — to name just a few,” he asserted.