US President Donald Trump has said he could “work with anybody” in No 10 – nine days ahead of a general election.
Speaking on a three-day visit to the UK, Mr Trump said he would “stay out of the election”, that he was a “fan of Brexit” and he thought PM Boris Johnson was “very capable”.
Mr Trump is in the UK for a Nato summit being held in Watford on Wednesday.
He will attend a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace later, where protests are expected.
The US president was speaking during a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the US ambassador’s residence in London.
During a press conference Mr Trump also said:
- The US wanted “absolutely nothing to do with” the NHS, when asked if it would form any part of future trade talks. He added: “Never even thought about it, honestly.”
- He himself was “a very easy person to work with”
- The US was “trying to work something out” with the family of teenager Harry Dunn
- French President Emmanuel Macron was “very disrespectful” for suggesting Nato was “brain dead”
The US president’s comments came moments after he told reporters that he was staying out of the election on 12 December “because I don’t want to complicate it”.
President Trump is visiting the UK to attend a Nato summit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the transatlantic organisation.
Scotland Yard has said road closures will be in place in central London during the summit.
He is due to have separate talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Trump will attend a working lunch with representatives from Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the UK.
However, it is unclear whether Mr Trump will hold a one-on-one meeting with Mr Johnson.
Mr Trump said he would be meeting the British prime minister during his visit, adding: “I have meetings set up with lots of different countries”.
And Mr Johnson said he would be discussing Syria, Russia and China during discussions with Nato leaders.
However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later – said on Tuesday that arrangements for such bilateral meetings were “always quite fluid”.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Lansdale said the Conservatives’ HQ is not keen on such a meeting “to avoid pictures that could be used by his (Boris Johnson’s) opponents” in the upcoming general election.
Mr Johnson and Mr Trump did speak on Saturday, when Mr Trump expressed his condolences after the London Bridge attack.
The Queen will host a reception for world leaders, including Mr Trump, at Buckingham Palace later.
Protesters are expected to gather outside the palace ahead of the event on Tuesday evening.
The friends and family of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn are expected to be among them. Mr Dunn’s death led to a diplomatic row between the US and UK after a suspect over his death returned to America, claiming diplomatic immunity.
A spokesman for Mr Dunn’s family said they will join demonstrations in order to “make our feelings known” to Mr Trump.
‘Respect and politeness”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Mr Trump to be treated “with respect and politeness” during his visit.
Ahead of the visit, Mr Corbyn wrote to Mr Trump, demanding assurances that the NHS will be “off the table” in any post-Brexit US-UK trade talks. However, Mr Johnson said the claims were “nonsense” and the NHS would not be part of any such trade discussions.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has told the Sun newspaper that Mr Corbyn wants to “disband” Nato and accused the Labour leader of being “naive” to the risk of terrorism.
In response, a Labour spokesman said that Mr Corbyn “will do whatever is necessary and effective to keep the British people safe”.
Elsewhere, Nigel Farage has said it is “awkward” that his “friend”, Mr Trump, had arrived during the election campaign. The Brexit Party leader said he would keep any “personal exchanges” between them private.
Mr Trump has previously been criticised for voicing his opinions of British political leaders.
The US president was warned against getting involved in the upcoming general election by Mr Johnson last week.
Mr Trump later said he was “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other countries’ elections.