Donald Trump called on the U.K. to throw off the “shackles” of European Union membership and strike a free-trade deal with the U.S., as the president again weighed into domestic politics during his state visit to Britain.
In the lead up to his trip to London, Trump said the U.K. should walk away from the tortured negotiations with the EU if Brussels refuses to negotiate better terms for the divorce, and suggested Nigel Farage — who’s campaigning for a no-deal Brexit — should be put in charge of the process.
“Big Trade Deal is possible once U.K. gets rid of the shackles,” Trump tweeted. “Already starting to talk!”
Trump’s comments are another signal of his desire to get on with a trade agreement, and for the British government to secure a clean break from the bloc’s rules. A hard split would give maximum scope for a new accord, but if the U.K. remained bound to EU regulations, it would narrow the options for a future pact.
It’s a sensitive issue in the U.K. Theresa May has failed to get the agreement she negotiated with Brussels ratified in Parliament and will step down as prime minister next month. Rivals jockeying to replace her are putting forward their own Brexit plans, with the favorite, Boris Johnson, pledging to take Britain out of the EU — with no deal, if necessary.