Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed that President Donald Trump’s “brutal” advice on dealing with the EU was that she should sue the bloc instead of making concessions to it.
The President had previously revealed that he would have dealt with Brussels “much differently” than the Tory leader, telling The Sun newspaper: “I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me… I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way.”
He added that it was “too bad what is going on,” and that her ultra-soft Brexit plans would “probably kill” a British-American trade agreement by leaving the EU with too much control over Britain’s economy for a deal to be made.
At a subsequent joint press conference with Mrs May outside the prime ministerial retreat of Chequers, he said he had been assured a deal would still be possible under her plans — not sounding terribly convinced — and confirmed that she had found his “tough” advice on how to approach the negotiations “too brutal” — but that she might still follow it if Brussels continued pushing her around.
Pressed on what that advice was in an interview with Piers Morgan after his meeting with the Queen, the President said it was for the Prime Minister if she wanted to reveal the “brutal option” he recommended, repeating: “I think it would’ve been great [if she had used it], but it’s not too late for her to do that necessarily.”
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) July 15, 2018
Speaking to the BBC on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister finally revealed what the President had said: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiations, sue them.”
She appeared to be unable to even consider taking such a combative approach, however, adding: “Actually no, we’re going into negotiations with them,” laughing incredulously.
Following this performance, the President’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon weighed in on Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage’s show on LBC show, telling the veteran MEP he thought the Prime Minister had failed to understand the American leader’s advice, or indeed “the central point of Brexit, which was independence.”
“Brexit was the biggest event in democracy in the history of the British people… it should have been taken very seriously,” he said.
“What Trump is saying [is] litigation is a weapon, it’s a tool, it’s when you go in hard, and I think what Donald Trump told her is that a deal like this has gotta be done hard, it’s gotta be done fast, it’s gotta be clean, and it can’t take a long time,” he explained.
The President is not the first person to advise such a gambit in the face of Brussels recalcitrance, however, with many Brexiteers suggesting the Prime Minister should have take the bloc to arbitration over its efforts to levy a massive divorce bill on the British without taking their share of EU assets into account, and to shut them out of the Galileo satellite programme.