Donald Trump is a “committed” US President and his state visit to the UK is not under threat, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.
In her New Year interview on the BBC Andrew Marr Show, May also said she did not know of Toby Young’s many offensive comments on Twitter about women’s breasts when he was appointed to advise the government on higher education, adding she was “not at all impressed”.
When pushed on the controversial appointment, however, she said she would stand by Young and he would keep his new job on the board of the Office for Students because he “apologised”.
It comes as reports emerge that Education Secretary Justine Greening’s job is under threat as part of a cabinet reshuffle that will get under way this week.
Questions have also been swirling about Trump’s mental health and his fitness to serve as President following allegations Steve Bannon made in his former aide’s new book Fire And Fury.
Trump has said he considers the book a work of fiction.
In it, Bannon branded the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.
Marr asked about the PM’s impression of Trump, with the words: “Child or stable genius?”
She said: “I’ve worked with President Trump on a number of issues as we continue to work with the United States on a number of issues.”
She added: “What I make of him is somebody who is taking decisions on what he believes is in the best interests of the United States. You know, the United Kingdom government and I will take decisions here on what we believe is in the best interests of the UK.”
Marr went on: “In the States there are quite serious questions being raised by some people about his mental state. Do you think they’re serious?”
May said: “No. As I say when I deal with President Trump what I see is somebody who is committed to ensuring that he is taking decisions in the best interests of the United States.”
She added: “He will be coming to this country.”
Marr read a comment May said in her New Year message, when the PM said “everyone has a right to be treated with respect. That means a public sphere in which debate is constructive and courteous and where we treat each other with decency.”
And the presenter asked: “In that context do you think it was right to appoint Toby Young to the new students’ body given what he said about being a porn addict and given things he has said repeatedly on twitter about women’s breasts?”
May answered: “Well, first of all Toby Young has done exceedingly good work in relation to free schools. And that’s what led to him being appointed to the office for students. When he was appointed I was not aware of these comments that he had made.”
She went on: “Frankly I’m not at all impressed by those comments. He’s now in public office and as far as I’m concerned if he was to continue to use that sort of language and talk in that sort of way he would no longer be in public office.”
“He’s apologised, but as I say if he – if he continues to talk and use this sort of language then he will no longer be in public office.”