British Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed the suggestion US President Donald Trump gave her last week that he claimed she found “too brutal.”
“He told me to sue the EU,” May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. “Not go into negotiations, sue them.”
Trump’s suggestion during his UK visit followed an interview he gave The Sun, a UK tabloid newspaper, in which he criticized May for not taking his advice on Brexit.
In the interview, which was published ahead of a joint press conference between the leaders on Friday, Trump also said May had “wrecked” Brexit and that her former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who had resigned days earlier, would be good at the prime minister’s job.
It made for an awkward press conference at the prime minister’s official country house, Chequers, where Trump said the piece of advice in the Sun interview article was actually a “suggestion” that May had found too “brutal.”
On Friday Trump also accused the Sun of peddling “fake news” and offered an apology of sorts to May.
“She’s a total professional,” Trump said. “Because when I saw her this morning I said I want to apologize … because, I said such good things about you.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry, it was only the press.’ I thought that was very professional.”
‘Part of our very special relationship’
On Sunday, May dismissed Trump’s brutal suggestion, telling Marr: “Actually no, we’re going into negotiations with them (the European Union). But interestingly, what the President also said at that press conference was, “Don’t walk away – don’t walk away from negotiations, because then you’re stuck.’”
When asked by Marr if May could trust anything Trump said, she replied: “I sit down with the President of the United States of America and we come to agreements and put them in place.”
“That is part of our very special relationship,” May said, adding, “the highest degree of special” – a reference to Trump’s description of the US-UK relationship during Friday’s briefing.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
A delicate time for Brexit – and for May
Trump’s explosive interview with the Sun comes at a delicate time for May, who just days earlier had seen two of her top Cabinet ministers, Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis, resign amid criticism of her Brexit plan.
Critics see May’s Brexit blueprint as a watering down of the UK’s position on leaving the European Union.
A final deal on Brexit is supposed to be agreed on with Brussels before a summit in October, although EU officials acknowledge this might now be delayed until December.