Trump heaps praise on May's handling of Brexit

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4:01 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

Here's a list of who's attending tonight's dinner

The place setting of President Trump is pictured on the top table ahead of a dinner with Prince Charles at Winfield House in London on June 4, 2019.
The place setting of President Trump is pictured on the top table ahead of a dinner with Prince Charles at Winfield House in London on June 4, 2019. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A dinner, planned by first lady Melania Trump, is underway at Winfield House right now.

Here are some details about the seating arrangements:

  • The first last is sitting next to the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister Theresa May's husband Philip May.
  • President Trump is sitting between Prince Charles and the prime minister.
  • There are six round tables, dressed with white tablecloths, white roses and white candles.

Here are a few of the notable attendees:

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • US national security adviser John Bolton
  • Press secretary Sarah Sanders
  • Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton
  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Watch for more:

3:37 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

On the menu at tonight’s dinner: Steak, potatoes, and watercress purée

Ever wonder what it's like to eat like royalty? Here’s what’s on the menu tonight as President Trump and first lady Melania Trump host Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Winfield House:

  • Heritage tomatoes with fresh burrata and garden basil
  • Grilled filet of beef
  • Pommes Anna
  • Watercress purée 
  • Celeriac and chantenay carrots
  • Summer berries, homemade vanilla ice cream, and muscovado sugar tuile

To drink, guests can choose from Iron Horse Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Brut Reserve.

3:22 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

The Trumps hosts dinner for Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose ahead of a dinner at Winfield House for Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during their state visit on June 4, 2019 in London, England.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose ahead of a dinner at Winfield House for Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during their state visit on June 4, 2019 in London, England. Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are hosting a dinner Tuesday night for Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Trumps welcomed Charles and Camilla at the US ambassador’s residence in Winfield House in Central London.

CNN's Kate Bennett reported that the first lady has been working on all the details for the dinner for the past several weeks, including the menu, guest list, seating charts and flowers.

"She was very actively involved planning it back home at the White House. But working in concert with the people here at Winfield house in London as they host this dinner," Bennett noted. "This is a reciprocal dinner — the night after the state banquet at Buckingham Palace. This is something the Obamas did as well. They hosted the Queen and Prince Philip and tonight we'll see Prince Charles and Camilla in the place of the Queen."

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

12:56 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

Nigel Farage says Trump believes in Brexit

 

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, took to Twitter Tuesday following his meeting with President Trump at the US ambassador’s residence in Winfield House in central London.

Here's what he said about the meeting:

 

1:25 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

What it was like at the protests in London today

Protesters holding placards stand in the rain at Parliament Square as President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit 10 Downing street for a meeting on June 4, 2019 in London.
Protesters holding placards stand in the rain at Parliament Square as President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit 10 Downing street for a meeting on June 4, 2019 in London. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Britons' passion to show their dislike of the America President somewhat fizzled today — at least compared to the hundreds of thousands of protesters that thronged through Central London at last year’s anti-Trump protest.

The rainy forecast didn't lend any favors to the organizers of the midweek protest. (For comparison, 2018’s demonstration had clear skies and took place on a Friday.)

Here's what both protests had in common: the 20-foot "Trump Baby" blimp took the skies. UK opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn made a speech, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Trump were trading barbs.

But that’s not to say there wasn’t any spirit on display on Tuesday. “Our NHS is NOT on the table,” read one sign, in reference to Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, indicating that Britain's publicly funded health system could feature in future trade negotiations with the UK.

Some protesters used the gathering in Trafalgar Square, and its ensuing rain-filled march to outside Parliament, as an opportunity to air their opposition to Trump’s stance on immigration, women’s rights and climate change.

“Someone in a position of power should not be denying science, they shouldn't be denying something that is fundamentally undeniable,” said 15-year-old student Izzy Warren, who is part of a coalition of young climate change activists responsible for a series of strikes across the country over the issue.

Behind her, a crowd of thousands chanted: “‘Say it loud say it clear Donald Trump is not welcome here.”

12:15 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

The Farage meeting shows how chaotic the UK political scene is

Nigel Farage is driven into the US ambassador's residence in London
Nigel Farage is driven into the US ambassador's residence in London

Barely an hour after Donald Trump's joint press conference with Theresa May ended, all eyes shifted to the spectacle of Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, being driven into Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador to London, where Trump is staying.

In the opulent setting of the Foreign Office, Trump was effusive in his praise for the departing May. But the fact that, in the next breath, he was meeting her nemesis, served to underscore the mess the UK's political system is in.

May announced her intention to stand down last month, as her governing Conservative party took a drubbing in the European elections. The winner of that election was none other than Farage, who has capitalized on the government's failure to deliver on the Brexit result.

As Trump stood next to May, he heaped praise on her approach to the Brexit negotiations, said that she was leaving the country in a very good place and even suggested that she might be a better negotiator than the President himself. “I think you deserve a lot of credit. I really do.” 

All that will ring a little hollow as he welcomes his "friend" Farage, a man who has twice bought the Conservative Party to its knees over Europe.

Meeting with Trump works for Farage as it plays to his hard Brexiteer base. But the President's limited popularity in the UK makes an endorsement less appealing.

Boris Johnson, the current favorite to replace May, declined a meeting with Trump, citing a previously planned event for his campaign. He did, however, hold a 20-minute phone call with the President.

For Johnson, it’s possible that declining to meet with Trump in person is more useful than a thumping endorsement. Looking too chummy with Trump could come back to bite him, whereas a short phone call shows that Johnson is a mature politician who wants a good relationship with America. Perhaps. 

The opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, spent his afternoon at an anti-Trump rally. This plays well to his base, who loathe Trump's brand of nationalism. One can only imagine how delighted Corbyn was to have Trump call him a “somewhat negative force."

This state visit has been a pleasant distraction from the upcoming mayhem the UK is about to charge headfirst into. But it's hard to ignore the fact that Trump's whirlwind trip has done little more than shake up an already chaotic political landscape.

11:32 a.m. ET, June 4, 2019

Nigel Farage seen entering Trump's residence

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has been seen entering Winfield House in Regent's Park, the US ambassador's residence in London, where the Trumps are staying during their visit.

A CNN crew saw the Brexit Party leader being driven in to the residence.

There had been speculation about whether Trump would meet Farage during his stay in the UK. The President suggested last week that he might meet Farage, the Brexit Party leader, who he called a "good guy."

The pair could have an interesting conversation: Farage has been a stident critic of Theresa May, who Trump just left a press conference with.

2:06 p.m. ET, June 4, 2019

Trump heaps praise on May's handling of Brexit

Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images
Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images

Throughout their joint press conference in London, Trump was effusive in his praise for Theresa May, particularly in relation to her handling of Brexit. It was a marked change in tone from the last time the US President was in the UK, when he had nothing but criticism for the way negotiations were going.

This time, just as May is about to step down as Prime Minister, Trump praised her efforts to take Britain out of the European Union, saying she had "teed up" a Brexit deal for her successor.

"I think it will happen, and I believe the Prime Minister's brought it to a very good point where something will take place in the not-too-distant future, I think she's done a very good job," Trump said.

The outgoing British Prime Minister joked that Trump, on his last visit, had proposed suing the EU. May said she had chosen to negotiate.

"I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know," Trump replied. And in a startling comment for a president who regards himself as a master dealmaker, he added: "She's probably a better negotiator than I am."

Trump suggested that history would judge May kindly on her handling of Brexit.

"She has got it, in a sense ... that deal is teed up. I think they have to do something," Trump said. "Perhaps you won't be given the credit you deserve if they do something, but I think you deserve a lot of credit, I really do," he added, as May nodded her thanks.

Trump also repeated his false claim that he predicted Britain voting for Brexit the day before it happened. "I really predicted what was going to happen, some of you remember that prediction, it was a strong prediction, made at a certain location at a development we were opening the day before it happened," he said.

In fact, Trump spoke about Brexit at his Turnberry golf course about Brexit the day after the Brexit vote.