Donald Trump delivers astonishing broadside at Theresa May in tabloid interview, as he meets UK PM in first London visit as president

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Associated Press

Dishing up a fresh dose of chaos on his European tour, President Donald Trump's UK welcome ceremony was soon overshadowed by an interview in which Trump blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, blamed London's mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of immigration.

Thousands are protesting the US President’s visit.
Source: BBC

Trump, in an interview with The Sun newspaper, said he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including plans to fly a giant balloon over Parliament tomorrow that depicts him as an angry baby in a diaper.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," he said.

Trump, in the interview given before he left Brussels for the UK, accused May of ruining what her country stands to gain from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an "excellent" prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May's Brexit plans.

Trump added that May's "soft" blueprint for the U.K.'s future dealings with the EU would probably "kill" any future trade deals with the United States.

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal," Trump told the paper.

Trump, who has compared his own election to the June 2016 referendum in which a majority of British voters supported leaving the EU, complained, "The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on."

He also told the tabloid that he'd shared advice with May during Britain's negotiations with the EU and she ignored it.

Details from Trump's interview with the paper became public as Trump was attending a black-tie dinner with May to welcome him to Britain with pomp and pageantry.

As for Johnson, Trump said: "I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he's got what it takes." He added, "I think he is a great representative for your country."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement after the tabloid interview was published, saying Trump "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much.

"As he said in his interview with the Sun she 'is a very good person' and he 'never said anything bad about her.' He thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person," Sanders wrote.

On Thursday night, hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the US ambassador's residence where Trump was staying on the outskirts of London, providing a preview of the forceful protests expected on Friday.

Trump acknowledged he didn't feel welcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the 20-foot-tall balloon depicting Trump as an angry baby.

Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is a Muslim. The president claimed Europe is "losing its culture" because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

"Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a sham," he said. "I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was and I don't mean that in a positive way."

In sharp contrast to the president's sharp words, Trump's first event in England was an oasis of warm greetings at an evening reception at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill, the larger-than-life British leader cited by the president as a model of leadership.

That was just one of several helicopter rides on the agenda for Trump, whose staff opted to keep him largely out of central London and the swarms of demonstrators who are likely to provide some of the defining images of his first official trip to the UK.

Trump's Marine One departure from the ambassador's residence was met by jeers from demonstrators banging pots and pans, and another pack of protesters lined roads near the palace.

Some of their signs read "Dump Trump," ''Lock Him Up" and "There Will Be Hell Toupee." Police worked overtime, their days off cancelled.

Trump was greeted at the palace by May, whose government has been rocked by resignations from ongoing tumult over Brexit.

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