Trump comments 'the last thing Theresa May needed'

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption London'Trump Baby balloon sparks debate

Trump had said that May's plan would "probably kill the deal" as it would mean the United States "would be dealing with the European Union" instead of the UK.

The interview has overshadowed what was an important visit by Trump for May's government.

Trump, despite his interview with The Sun, said that he supported whatever decision May comes to regarding Brexit, Britain's departure from the European Union.

Protests began in London Thursday, as President Trump arrived for a quick "working visit" in Britain.

On a visit to London two months before the 2016 Brexit referendum, former U.S. President Barack Obama said Britain would be at the "back of the queue" for a trade deal if it departed the European Union, an intervention condemned by those backing the "Leave" campaign such as Johnson.

He also said he might speak to Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary over May's plans for a business-friendly Brexit which was only agreed by her Cabinet last Friday after two years of wrangling.

"This incredible woman right here is doing a fantastic job, a great job", he said.

On Mrs May's reaction, he added: "She's a total professional because when I saw her this morning I said "I want to apologise because I said such good things about you".

In the interview, Trump insisted that he would have negotiated the deal differently than May, and he said that he had provided the prime minister his "views on what she should do and how she should negotiate".

He added, "I said, 'Brexit will happen.' The vote is going to go positive, because people don't want to be faced with the awful immigration problems that they are being faced with in other countries".

Asked directly whether he thinks Johnson might someday replace May, he declined to comment, saying he wasn't interested in "pitting one against the other". "He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me". "I was very surprised and saddened that he was getting out of government". "I think he is a great representative for your country".

But, as the leaders met for talks at May's official country residence Chequers, both tried to play down the president's intervention, made a few hours after the formal publication of May's plan, in the Brexit debate.

Donald Trump and and his wife Melania walk on the tarmac (left) at Stansted Airport, north of London, on Thursday, as Trump begins his first visit to the United Kingdom as U.S. president. "But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?"

"I used to love London as a city", he added. I haven't been there in a long time.

He continued: 'I think you have to give all the protagonists, whether it's the president or the prime minister, a little bit of leeway here.

In the Sun interview, which was conducted during Wednesday's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Trump renewed attacks on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, with whom he has a long-running feud.

Trump did praise May in the interview, but also suggested the prime minister did not take his advice on Brexit, which he said was "fine". Look at what is going on in London", Trump said, before referring directly to Khan: "I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism. At first, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan did not authorize its use, but he then changed his mind after more than 10,000 people signed a petition calling for him to do so.

Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is Muslim. I get along with her very nicely.

His bombshell in the printed media can only have left Mrs May deeply apprehensive about what the President might say when standing alongside her in front of the world's TV cameras following their talks at Chequers on Friday.

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