Tuesday 4 June 2019 3:32 pm

Five extraordinary remarks from Trump's Whitehall press conference

As tens of thousands of people took to the streets today in central London to protest President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK, the object of their ire gave a joint press conference with Theresa May in Whitehall.

Trump’s press conferences are seldom dull affairs, and his arrival in the UK was marked by a typical broadside at mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Did this one live up to the hype?

Read more: Corbyn is a negative force, says Trump

Here are five things he said.

He knows Boris Johnson… But he doesn’t know Michael Gove

In an offhand comment that will sting the environment secretary’s ego, Trump said: “I don’t know Michael,” before asking foreign secretary and fellow Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt whether Gove would do a good job as PM.

Remember that time Gove landed an exclusive interview with the newly-elected President in early 2017?

But Trump said he does know Boris Johnson.

“I like him, I’ve liked him for a long time,” he said. “I think he would do a very good job [as Prime Minister].” The President added: “I know Jeremy [Hunt], I think he would do a very good job.”

Cue silent fist pumps from the foreign secretary and his predecessor.

Britain and the US will reach an agreement on Huawei

The President also said he was confident he could reach a compromise on Huawei with the British government.

The US has pushed to prevent the Chinese giant from developing 5G networks in Europe, and has threatened to stop sharing intelligence with those using Huawei infrastructure.

But it emerged in April that Britain was planning to go ahead working with the Chinese telecoms firm, despite security concerns.

Asked about whether he would still limit intelligence sharing with the UK if it used Huawei, Trump said: “No because we’re going to have absolutely an agreement on Huawei and everything else.”

Here’s Huff Post’s political editor Paul Waugh’s take:

Sadiq Khan is a ‘negative force’

Elaborating on yesterday’s memorable Twitter tirade against mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Trump said he was a “negative force, not a positive force”.

“I think he’s been a not very good mayor from what I understand. He’s done a poor job, crime is up, a lot of problems,” he added.

“And I don’t think he should be criticizing a representative of the United States that can do so much good for the United Kingdom.”

When Trump blasted Khan as “a stone cold loser” yesterday, London’s first Muslim mayor hit back by comparing him to “an 11-year-old”.

Sadiq tweeted this afterwards:

Trump snubs Jeremy Corbyn

According to Trump, Jeremy Corbyn requested a meeting with the President.

This comes after the Labour leader refused to attend last night’s state banquet at Buckingham Palace on the grounds that he did not want to roll out the red carpet.

“He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided that I would not do that,” Trump said.

He went on to call Corbyn – you’ve guessed it – a “negative force”.

A Labour source later confirmed the reports. “Jeremy is ready to engage with the President on a range of issues,” they said.

Theresa May is a “better negotiator” than Trump

Being called “a better negotiator than I am” by the self-styled Master of the Deal is fulsome praise indeed.

But that’s what Trump said about Theresa May – weeks after she announced her resignation, having failed to negotiate Britain’s way out of the European Union.

“She’s probably a better negotiator that I am.”
“She’s probably a better negotiator that I am.” (STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Unabashed, May joked that Trump had suggested he may sue the EU on his last visit to the UK.

Trump said: “I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know.”

“She’s probably a better negotiator that I am.”

Read more: Trump says NHS would be up for grabs in a free trade deal

Turning to the outgoing Prime Minister, he added: “Perhaps you won’t be given the credit you deserve if they do something, but I think you deserve a lot of credit, I really do.”