Donald Trump has said that British people like him a lot because of his views on immigration, ahead of his first official visit to the UK.
Speaking at a surprise press conference following a Nato summit in Brussels, he said he thought the UK voted for Brexit because of immigration, and said he “partially” won an election on the issue.
Trump, who is due in to land in the UK at lunchtime on Thursday to large-scale protests across the capital, which are expected to be the biggest staged in opposition to a sitting US president, was asked about the planned demonstrations.
He said: “It’s fine. They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration.” He added: “I think that’s why Brexit happened.”
Asked about Theresa May’s plan for Brexit, he said the government seems to be turning back towards the EU, and that he didn’t think that’s what people voted for.
He then echoed the British Prime Minister’s own words, that “Brexit should mean Brexit”.
He said: “The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for.”
He added it seemed as if the UK was “getting at least partially involved back with the European Union”.
“I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly,” he said.
He also told reporters he was going through “a pretty hot spot right now with a lot of resignations” and said that out of the Nato summit, his UK visit and his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday, the latter may be the easiest one of them all.
The US president is due to fly straight from the summit to Stansted airport for the four day visit, which will include a black tie dinner at Blenheim Palace, talks with May at Chequers and afternoon tea with the Queen.
He will largely be avoiding London, where a mass demonstration is planned and where the ‘Trump Baby’ balloon will be flown above Westminster.