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John Bolton: Trump ‘Eager for the Will of the British People to Be Carried Out’

AYLESBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. President Donald Trump attends bi-lateral talks with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers on July 13, 2018 in Aylesbury, England. US President, Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with British Prime Minister, Theresa May at her grace-and-favour country residence, Chequers. Earlier British newspaper, The Sun, …
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VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has offered some words of assurances to the British people on the day the UK was supposed to leave the European Union, saying the United States is eager to do a bilateral trade deal and the UK remains at “top of the queue.”

“People who worry about the UK ‘crashing out’ of the European Union — that’s the phrase they use — they’re going to ‘crash’ right into the United States,” Mr Bolton told Sky News’s Cordelia Lynch from the White House on Friday.

“We’re standing here waiting to make a trade deal with a United Kingdom independent of the European Union,” Mr Bolton continued, in an optimistic note.

“I don’t want to get into the specifics of what’s been going on in the House of Commons, but I can say unequivocally President Trump is eager for the will of the British people to be carried out and he is even more eager to do a trade deal,” he said.

At the time of the historic 2016 vote, and since, President Donald Trump has been a supporter of Brexit and the prospect of a strong U.S.-UK bilateral trade deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May lost her third vote on her EU-approved Withdrawal Agreement from the bloc, today, on the day the country was scheduled to leave the European Union.

Remainer forces within the House of Commons that want to stay as closely aligned to the EU as possible continue to press for May’s deal, but with an added Customs Union — where the UK would maintain the same tariffs and trade policies as the EU — which would threaten a UK-U.S. bilateral deal.

“The President wants to deal with a Britain that can change some of the rules on trade we think disfavours the United States when it’s in connection with the European Union,” Mr Bolton said on the issue of the obstructive Customs Union.

“Honestly, from the U.S. point of view — and for that matter, the UK point of view — I don’t understand why you would want to get out of the EU and not be able to set your own rules.

“That’s what independence means and that’s what the President wants to do. He think that the EU rules discriminate against American trade, and he wants a free, fare, and reciprocal trade with Great Britain.”

“But it really is quite important for the President for the people of Britain to know that this is the top of the priority. This is not the Obama administration where Britain would go ‘to the back of the queue’ — which, of course, is not an American phrase. Britain will be at the top of the queue for us.”

Asked whether he agreed with Nigel Farage whether today was a “day of shame,” the diplomat said, “I think Britain had a referendum, the Leave vote won in what everybody agrees was a free and fair election; doesn’t the will of the British people get to be carried out?”

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