Donald Trump solidly behind a ‘fully independent Britain’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, October 8. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Donald Trump is looking forward to negotiating with a “fully independent Britain” after Brexit, according to his national security adviser.

John Bolton said the US president had been a supporter of Brexit, and hoped to do a trade deal with the UK soon.

Mr Bolton told Sky News: “President Trump has made it clear that he looks forward to a day the US and the UK can negotiate a bilateral agreement that will be beneficial to both countries and see the will of the people carried out.

“It’ll be up to the Conservatives to pick a new leader then to see what happens in the negotiation process.”

Earlier today, Mr Trump commended both Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the latter of whom is the front-runner to be the next Conservative leader.

Responding to whether or not Mr Trump should have dealings with Brexit Party leaders during a delicate political time in the UK, Mr Bolton said: “The president will do what the president wants.”

But the national security adviser would not be drawn on his favourite of the two, saying: “The president has relationships with both of those men, [Mr Johnson and Mr Farage] as he does with many people here, from his business interests.

“He has been a strong supporter of Brexit and I think he does look forward to negotiating with a fully independent Britain outside the European Union.

“Beyond that, at this stage it is a delicate moment in the leadership selection process.”

Mr Trump arrives in the UK on Monday for a state visit, completing what will be his last dealings with Theresa May while she is head of the Conservatives.

Mrs May and the US leader have had a fractured relationship since he became president, marred by his comments that he didn’t understand how the Brexit negotiations had “gone so badly” and suggesting the US would not be able to strike a trade deal with UK under her EU withdrawal deal.

Mr Bolton said: “The president admires Prime Minister May, he admires her determination and her grit. He’s proud to work with her because the US-UK relationship is the most important bilateral relationship we have.

“I think the two of them will have a lot to discuss even though she’s announced her intention to leave.”

Mr Bolton said future trade deals between the US and the UK have “big implications for Britain to gain” as well as America.

He said: “These pharmaceutical companies based in the UK do a lot of business with the States.

“The two economies are very much in sync, I could imagine Britain and Canada doing a three-way deal.

“Britain is a global economic power and political power and we look forward to a strong relationship.”

Mr Bolton has appeared at odds with his president after he accused North Korea of violating UN regulations with its latest missile tests, only for the president to say the opposite.

Mr Bolton said: “The president’s policy is not regime change in Iran, I’ve said many things before I took this job, but now I’m the adviser, not the decision maker.

“He dictates policy and that’s true on North Korea.

“The president is very determined that neither country get nuclear weapons, he’s very prepared to negotiate with either or both countries.

“He said so since his 2016 campaign, he’s had two precedent breaking summits with Kim Jong-Un and he’s held fast to his position he wants to see North Korea’s nuclear program eliminated.”

Discussion tensions between Washington and Tehran, Mr Bolton said Iranian naval vessels were to blame for damage to oil tankers in Gulf of Oman.

He said: “We expect the countries that the vessels belong to will in due course make public the results of their investigation.

“I don’t think anyone in the region has any doubt who staged these attacks. We’ve made it clear this behaviour is not something they should be engaged in.

“We have made it clear that if US citizens or facilities are threatened or attacked there will be a strong response.”