Trumps, May, attend gala at UK’s Blenheim Palace

The Latest: Trump attending second day of meetings at NATO

The Latest: Trump attending second day of meetings at NATO

President Donald Trump dealt a double blow to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, saying her plans for a soft Brexit would end any hopes of a trade deal with the US and suggesting Boris Johnson, who quit her cabinet earlier this week, would be a better leader than her.

He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an "excellent" prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May's Brexit plans.

On Friday, Trump will bypass the mass protests in London as he heads to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst with May for a military display, before talks at her country residence, Chequers. "I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister".

Trump said May "didn't listen" to his views on how she should negotiate Brexit, but that was "fine".

"On Friday she is going to have a separate program in London, and because it's in London I'm not able to share the location but she plans to meet veterans and local schoolchildren", a Downing Street spokeswoman told HuffPost U.K. As he said in his interview with the Sun she "is a very good person" and he "never said anything bad about her".

2018 President Donald Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Trump will get the red carpet treatment on his brief visit to the U.K. beginning Thursd

"I would have done it much differently, ' Trump said".

"It was not the deal that was in the referendum".

In the interview, Trump said Johnson has "got what it takes and I think he has got the right attitude to be a great prime minister". "With a lot of resignations", he said, in a reference to recent turmoil in May's government.

The trip coincides with a tumultuous week for May after two senior ministers resigned in protest at her plans for trade with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc next March.

May will seek to put the diplomatic tensions behind her when she hosts Trump today for a black-tie dinner with business leaders at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of World War II prime minister Winston Churchill. "It's an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the U.K. and right across the United States".

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We're focused on Wednesday because we believe we can continue this great journey". "We're not working much now so you can imagine what it will be like if we win".

But Trump poured cold water on May s offer.

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the United Kingdom, so it will probably kill the deal", the Sun newspaper quoted Trump as saying in extracts from an interview.

Protesters gathered outside the United States ambassador's residence in London, where the Trumps are staying tonight, and near Blenheim Palace.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later told reporters Trump was "thankful for the wonderful welcome" he received in Britain.

"As he said in his interview with the Sun she "is a very good person" and he 'never said anything bad about her.' He thought she was great on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation today and is a really terrific person", Sanders wrote. But she also warned Trump not to ignore the "malign behaviour" of Moscow when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week. Moscow denies the charge, and Trump has given no indication that he intends to raise the issue with Putin.

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Asked whether Putin presented a security threat, Trump offered a grudging compliment: "Hey, I don't want him to be". The United States, which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP.

He then travels north to Scotland where he and his wife Melania will spend the weekend privately.

The US Ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, insisted last week that Trump's itinerary was not intentionally designed for him to avoid encountering throngs of protesters.

Asked about Trump's comments, May simply said she was delivering wishes of the British people. The people vote to break it up so I would imagine that's what they'd do.

On the planned protests, the ambassador said that Trump appreciated free speech and dismissed as "irrelevant" a giant balloon of Trump depicted as a crying baby in nappies which will fly next to the British parliament tomorrow.

Trump angered May and many Britons by tweeting inflammatory and unverified videos made by Britain First, an anti-Muslim group whose leaders have been convicted of hate crimes, and by characterizing parts of London and other cities as no-go areas because of a purported Muslim-related crime wave. "The US has always stood by our side as a beacon for tolerance, openness and respect", he said.

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