Donald Trump opened his official visit to the United Kingdom by delivering what Vanity Fair called a “vote of no confidence” to his host, British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump excoriated May for ignoring his advice on how to handle “Brexit,” Britain’s upcoming pullout from the European Union.
For his only press interview with a U.K. media outlet, Trump chose The Sun, a right-wing tabloid owned by Trump’s personal friend, billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose multinational media company also founded and owns Fox News in the United States.
In the same Sun interview in which he slammed May, Trump also attacked the immigrant population of Great Britain and the European Union, saying that the presence of immigrants has resulted in Europe “losing its culture.”
“I think what has happened to Europe is a shame. Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. 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,” Trump told the Murdoch paper — which boasts a reported daily circulation of over 1.4 million, according to NewsWorks statistics. Those numbers make it one of the two most widely-read newspapers in the U.K.
“I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago,” Trump said in the interview. It was unclear which “certain areas” he was referring to.
When the Sun reporters greeted Trump after being formally announced by an aide, they said that they presented him with a gift of a replica England national team soccer jersey.
“Oh wow. I love gifts,” Trump said. “You don’t hear the word England as much as you should. I think England is a beautiful name.”
But he then proceeded to rip into May over her policy of a “soft Brexit,” claiming that he had advised May on how she should handle the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“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 said.
But as critical as Trump was toward May, Trump was just as complimentary toward former British Foreign Minister and London Mayor Boris Johnson in the Sun interview. In fact, he suggested that Johnson should become the U.K.’s prime minister.
“I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me. I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country,” Trump said.
He added that he was not suggesting that Johnson should be in and May out.
“I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister,” Trump said. “I think he’s got what it takes.”
Trump also said that outrage in Britain over the poisoning by nerve agent of Russian exile Sergei Skirpal would not cause him to alter his warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though experts on Russia have said that Putin likely authorized the poisoning of Skirpal, as Business Insider reported.