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Trump ruffles feathers before UK visit

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 2, 2019 - Duration: 02:29s

Trump ruffles feathers before UK visit

U.S. President Donald Trump has been speaking out to UK papers ahead of his state visit this week -- weighing in on Meghan Markle, Brexit and the next prime minister.

Few expect the controversy surrounding his trip to end there.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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Trump ruffles feathers before UK visit

First, he made an apparent dig at the Duchess of Sussex, then he waded into Britain's vicious leadership contest...and its toxic Brexit battle.

Donald Trump's interviews with UK papers in the past few days have done little to dispel fears his state visit to Britain this week will be a controversial one.

At the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, the U.S. president and First Lady Melania Trump are due in London Monday for the start of a three-day pomp-fest, including a banquet at Buckingham Palace.

But activists plan to rival the festivities with a "carnival of resistance".

And the "Trump baby" blimp will also be back to greet the U.S. president, flying over parliament.

Trump baby watched over his last visit in 2018; an attempt, Trump said, to make him feel unwelcome.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, the proudly outspoken president said Britain should refuse to pay its 50 billion dollar divorce bill and walk away from Brexit talks if Brussels won't give it what it wants.

He said arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage should be the one to conduct those talks.

In that interview, and one on Friday with The Sun tabloid, Trump also weighed in on who Britain's next prime minister should be after Theresa May steps down right after his visit.

The hard Brexiteers got his vote.

Including former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who favours Britain leaving the EU in October with or without a deal.

His comments were criticized by the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, as unacceptable interference.

Corbyn has declined an invitation to the state banquet in Trump's honour.

Trump praised Johnson on his last visit, and shocked many when he hammered May for being too weak on Brexit.

Asked about Megan Markle's past criticism of him during his 2016 election campaign, Trump said "I didn't know that she was nasty".

But he also said the U.S.-born wife of Prince Harry would make a "very good princess".

Trump is also expected to demand a tougher British stance on China and telecoms giant Huawei.

Britain prides itself on its so-called special relationship with the United States and May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration.

But some Brits see Trump as volatile and hostile to their values on immigration and the treatment of women.

Trump will meet Prince Harry this week, but not the Duchess of Sussex, who gave birth to their son Archie last month.

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