Trump creates diplomatic headache for U.K. even before state visit


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By Rachel Elbaum

LONDON — Britain and the U.S. may have a special relationship but President Donald Trump’s state visit will be a diplomatic balancing act for the U.K., where Trump is deeply unpopular.

Even before his arrival on British shores, the president caused a stir by wading into the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister and criticising Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

Trump’s trip comes as the U.K. is facing its most significant crisis since the Second World War.

It is currently in the midst of a long and messy divorce from the European Union, the economic and political bloc it has belonged to for more than 40 years.

That divorce has now brought down a second prime minister in less than three years.

May announced on May 24 that she will step down as prime minister and leader of her ruling Conservative party just days after the president’s visit. Her party is now in the midst of a heated race to decide who will be its next leader — and the country’s next prime minister.

In an interview Friday with the British tabloid The Sun, Trump said Boris Johnson — the divisive populist and ex-foreign secretary who is favorite to replace May — would make an “excellent” prime minister.

“I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent,” Trump said.

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