Trump weighs in on contentious Brexit negotiations ahead of UK visit

President Donald Trump is in the United Kingdom as an honored guest for an official state visit, but prior to being welcomed by the British royals and political leaders, Trump weighed in with his thoughts on the Brexit “divorce” between the U.K. and European Union.

Trump said in an interview that leaders in the U.K should have done a better job negotiating a Brexit deal and encouraged them to simply “walk away” rather than accept unfavorable terms including the nearly $50 billion “divorce bill.”

Walk away

Trump’s remarks came during an interview at the White House with The Sunday Times ahead of his official state visit on Monday.

With regard to the constant delays in the U.K. actually leaving the E.U., Trump said, “They gotta get it done,” and added, “They have got to get the deal closed.”

The president further suggested that the U.K. should proceed with Brexit even if an acceptable deal wasn’t reached by the deadline of October 31. He also said it would be wise for the U.K. to involve outspoken Brexit Party leader and supporter Nigel Farage in any future negotiations.

“If they don’t get what they want I would walk away,” he said. “If you don’t get the deal you want, if you don’t get a fair deal, then you walk away.”

Say no to “divorce bill”

Trump also suggested that the U.K. should decline to pay the “divorce bill” meant to settle pending financial obligations owed to the E.U., a tab which amounts to roughly $50 billion.

“If I were them I wouldn’t pay $50bn,” Trump said. “That is me. I would not pay, that is a tremendous number.”

The president criticized the manner in which U.K. political leaders handled the Brexit negotiations with the E.U. — particularly outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May — and expressed his belief that Conservative leader Boris Johnson would be “excellent” as the next prime minister.

Trade potential touted

As to Trump’s advice that the U.K. simply “walk away” from the E.U. even if its leaders were unable to reach an agreeable deal, he stressed that the U.K. could turn to America to compensate any losses by forging a trade deal with the U.S. that would be advantageous to both sides.

“We have the potential to be an incredible trade partner with the UK,” Trump said. “We have tremendous potential to make up more than the difference. We will be talking to them about that. One of the advantages of Brexit is the fact that now you can deal with the No. 1 economy in the world by far.”

It will be interesting to see if British leaders take President Trump up on his advice about Brexit, but considering that Trump literally wrote a book on successful deal making and negotiations, it would be a wise move.

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