Trump tariff threat to Irish trade adds to Brexit chaos

President Donald Trump on Thursday sharply criticized Britain's handling of negotiations over leaving the European Union, saying the talks have been bungled and that the debate was dividing the country.

"I will tell you, I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation", Trump said, sounding like he wasn't that surprised at all.

During a speech at the Vice President's US Naval Observatory residence, the Irish leader said his fascination with American politics at a young age "helped to inspire me to believe in the power of politics to do good because ultimately that is what politics is all about". "I don't think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people who won, who say, 'What do you mean you're going to take another vote?' That will be tough".

He said he told Mr Trump there was an opportunity for an EU-US trade deal. We want to make sure there is trade between Britain and Ireland. "But I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly". "I regret Brexit's happening".

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29.

The Irish PM said the most pressing issue facing his country was how to settle questions about the future of the border between Ireland, an European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which won't be.

Arlene Foster met US President Donald Trump at a St Patrick's Day celebrations lunch in Washington on Thursday.

"I thought it would happen, it did happen, and both sides are very, very cemented in".

"Most important thing for us in Ireland is that their decision to leave shouldn't cause problems in Northern Ireland where people voted to stay", he said.

Brexit won't spoil the relationship, even given Trump's history of turning on leaders who cross him, said Marquette University historian Timothy G. McMahon, president of the American Conference for Irish Studies. "He has consistently emphasized Brexit as a prerequisite for a new U.S. -U.K. free trade agreement, and administration officials and members of Congress have been working diligently to prepare for such an agreement", Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, tells VOA News. He said: "If they don't talk to us, we're going to do something pretty severe economically".

"What I've asked for is an understanding of our situation, particularly when it comes to Northern Ireland and avoiding a hard Border and protecting the peace process".

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