- An interview US President Donald Trump gave the Sun is gathering great attention in Britain and world capitals, because of his seeming endorsement of Boris Johnson as the next British Prime Minister. The seeming
endorcement is a move that might send strong signals to Brexiters that they have his unflinching support should they choose to challenge current Prime Minister Theresa May for Britain’s Prime Ministership.
The Donald heaped praise on Johnson, describing him as “a very talented guy” for whom he had “a lot of respect”. He added, “I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”
In typical fashion where visiting world leaders meet presumptive future leaders of countries they visit, Trump had earlier announced that he would like to meet Mr Johnson during his UK trip, even though Johnson is not currently in government, having resigned recently, and is not leader of the opposition Labour Party.
In the interview, Trump added, “I hope [Johnson] goes back [to government] at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country.”
To further cement Boris Johnson’s chances, Trump also threatened that the US would likely not sign a trade deal the UK desperately needs post BREXIT if Theresa May goes ahead with her BREXIT plan. The president accused her of not listening to his advice on ‘how to do it’.
By these moves Donald Trump has projected his king-making powers across the Atlantic to the UK. He has tied the hands of Theresa May, who wants a soft divorce from the EU that would leave Britain with some EU perks and benefits post BREXIT.
Mrs May knows that whatever deals she could get from a soft BREXIT would not be enough, and has looked forward to signing a super trade deal with the US as an alternative. Without a soft BREXIT or a super US trade deal, the British economy faces very dim prospects post BREXIT.
Now Trump’s preference for her rival and threats against her version of BREXIT leave her with little room for manoeuvering. The EU is on the other side making opposing threats.
Theresa May might just throw in the towel soon, unless she has a secret card she has been holding close to her chest.
On the other hand, if Trump succeeds in getting in Theresa May out for Boris Johnson, it will be an international extension of king-making powers he has used successfully against elected members of his party who have defied him at one point or the other.
As he would say, let’s see what happens.