Trump urges Johnson and Farage to form ‘unstoppable force’ for General Election
Donald Trump is urging Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage to team up and become an “unstoppable force” as he warned that Jeremy Corbyn would take the UK to “bad places”.
The US president called for the Prime Minister and Brexit Party leader to “get together” in what appeared to be a call for them to form a pact ahead of Mr Farage launching his party’s General Election campaign on Friday morning.
Mr Trump hailed Mr Johnson as “the exact right guy for the times” but also criticised his Brexit deal, claiming it hinders trade with the US.
In a radio interview with Mr Farage on LBC, Mr Trump waded into British domestic affairs by voicing his opinion ahead of the election – a move that has been described by Mr Corbyn as interference.
Describing Mr Farage and Mr Johnson as “two brilliant people”, Mr Trump said: “I would like to see you and Boris get together because you would really have some numbers, because you did fantastically in the election, the last election.
“He has a lot of respect and like for you. I just wish you two guys could get together – I think it would be a great thing.”
Mr Farage replied: “Well I tell you what, if he drops this dreadful deal, fights the General Election on the basis that we just want to have trade with Europe but no political influence, do you know what? I would be right behind him.”
Mr Trump added: “When you are the president of the United States you have great relationships with many of the leaders, including Boris, he’s a fantastic man, and I think he’s the exact right guy for the times.
“And I know that you and him will end up doing something that could be terrific if you and he get together as, you know, an unstoppable force.”
Talking about Mr Corbyn, the president said: “Corbyn would be so bad for your country, he’d be so bad, he’d take you on such a bad way. He’d take you into such bad places.”
In a tweet, Mr Corbyn said: “Donald Trump is trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.”
Mr Farage has refused to rule out the prospect of the Brexit Party withdrawing hundreds of election candidates in order to target a small number of Labour-held seats, saying that his strategy would become clear on Friday.
Asked if he was ruling out standing down hundreds of candidates, the party leader told the PA news agency on Thursday: “I’ve ruled nothing in, I’ve ruled nothing out. I am making a completely neutral comment ahead of our launch tomorrow.”
The remarks follow a report in the Daily Telegraph stating the party was considering slashing the number of would-be MPs it fields in the December 12 General Election in order to concentrate resources on 20-40 Labour seats in Leave areas.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly ruled out an election pact with the Brexit Party.
Some senior Tories fear that Mr Farage’s Brexit Party could peel away enough traditional Conservative voters in tight races to allow the opposition to take the seat.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump said it would be difficult to trade with the UK under Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, telling Mr Farage: “To be honest with you… this deal… under certain aspects of the deal… you can’t do it, you can’t do it, you can’t trade.
“We can’t make a trade deal with the UK because I think we can do many times the numbers that we’re doing right now and certainly much bigger numbers than you are doing under the European Union.”
Afterwards, a Number 10 spokesman said: “Under this new deal the whole of the UK will leave the EU Customs Union, which means we can strike our own free trade deals around the world from which every part of the UK will benefit.”
Tory MP David Mundell told BBC’s Newsnight that people in Scotland “take Donald Trump’s interventions in any matter with a pinch of salt”, adding: “Mr Trump is the sort of character who as we know makes colourful comments.
“He’s said many different things about a possible trade deal.”
Meanwhile, former Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach has joined the Liberal Democrats, bringing their number of MPs to 20.
She will contest her Cheshire seat of Eddisbury as the Lib Dem candidate, the party said.