U.S. President Donald Trump landed in the U.K. on Monday for a three-day state visit at a sensitive time for the country’s ruling Conservative Party. Rival candidates are jostling to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, and the president has already weighed in with his own opinions on the contenders.
President Donald Trump landed at the U.K.’s Stansted Airport at 8:56 a.m. to be met by U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, as well as U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Woody Johnson.
He managed to stir controversy even While Air Force One was still in the air, tweeting that London Mayor of London Sadiq Khan — with whom he has a long-running dispute — is a “stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.”
Trump May Meet With Farage, Johnson During Visit
There’s still an open question as to whether Trump will meet with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and the favorite to succeed May, Boris Johnson, during his visit.
While meeting Johnson might be considered political meddling, given there are 12 other candidates to replace May, and meeting Farage would be undiplomatic, given he’s a fierce opponent of the ruling Tories, those considerations aren’t likely to trouble Trump, who on Thursday said he may meet them.
Over the weekend, Trump told the Sun newspaper that Johnson would make an “excellent” prime minister. And the Sunday Times reported his advice to Britain that Brexit Party leader Farage be appointed to negotiate Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Foreign Secretary Says UK Won’t Use Huawei to Share Intelligence
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC Radio that the government takes “careful notice” of “everything” the U.S. says around the use of Huawei technology in telecommunications networks. He said the U.K. hasn’t made a final decision on whether to use Huawei, and it’s mindful not to be “technologically over-dependent on a third country for a vital technology.”
“We’ve been very clear from the outset that we wouldn’t take any decisions that affect our intelligence sharing,” Hunt said. “Huawei equipment would never be involved in” intelligence-sharing channels.
The foreign secretary also said a trade deal with the U.S. represents a “very, very big opportunity,” noting that both sides will have red lines. In the U.K., he said, that means the National Health Service. “The ownership of the NHS and NHS services, I can’t imagine that ever being part of trade talks.”
Hunt flagged international issues including Iran, Yemen and the Russian use of cyberspace to destabilize Western countries. “In all these issues, if the U.K. and USA work together, we can achieve real results,” he said.
Tory Leadership Race Weighs in on Huawei Decision
Both Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt offered strong hints on Sunday that they wanted to block China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from U.K. telecommunication networks, as sought by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I would not want any company, whichever country it’s from, that has a high degree of control by a foreign government to have access to our very sensitive telecommunications network,” Javid told the BBC. On the question of security, Hunt told CBS: “We’d never take a decision that affected our intelligence sharing capability with the U.S.”