International desk, July 13: Donald Trump has insisted the US-UK relationship is “the highest level of special”, hours after he told the Sun Theresa May’s Brexit plan would kill a trade deal between the countries.Speaking alongside the PM, Mr Trump said Brexit was an “incredible opportunity” and “whatever” the UK did after it left the EU was “OK with me”.
Mrs May said they had discussed plans for an “ambitious” trade agreement.
Thousands of people are protesting in central London against his visit.
A large balloon, portraying the president as a baby, has been floated in Parliament Square as part of the demonstrations. Other protests are due to take place across the UK on Friday and Saturday.
At a news conference following talks at the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers, Mr Trump said: “The relationship between our two nations is indispensable to the cause of liberty, justice, and peace.”
He also said:
* The Sun interview was “generally fine” but missed out his positive comments about Mrs May – so amounted to “fake news”
* “This incredible woman right here is doing a fantastic job, a great job”
* The US is looking forward to finalising a “great” bilateral trade agreement with UK
* He had not given Mrs May advice on how to deal with the EU but “did give her a suggestion… and I think she found it maybe too brutal”
* The US “looks forward to finalising a great bilateral trade agreement”
Mr Trump described Brexit as a “very tough situation… between the borders and the entries into the countries and all of the things”, saying: “The only thing I ask is that she work it out so that we can have very even trade”.
Mrs May said the US was “keen” to do a deal with the UK, adding: “We will do a trade deal with them and with others around the rest of the world”.
She maintained the government’s Brexit agreement “delivers” on the referendum vote.
Earlier, Mr Trump said he and Mrs May had spoken for an hour-and-a-half at the black-tie dinner, which he attended with his wife Melania at Blenheim Palace on Thursday evening.
“I think we probably never developed a better relationship than last night,” he said.
Mr Trump arrived at the prime minister’s Buckinghamshire residence by helicopter after visiting the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Berkshire, on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump played bowls with the PM’s husband, Philip May, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. She met Chelsea Pensioners and local children.