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Donald Trump says UK 'doing great' after Brexit vote

Photo showing Mr Trump behind his desk during his interview with The Times.Image copyright The Times

The UK is "doing great" following its vote to leave the EU, US President-elect Donald Trump has said.

In his first UK interview, with former justice secretary Michael Gove for the Times, Mr Trump said he thought the UK was "so smart in getting out".

Mr Trump promised a quick trade deal between the US and the UK after he takes office in five days time.

He also criticised Nato and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's immigration policies.

Mr Trump spoke to the Times and German newspaper Bild ahead of his inauguration on Friday.


Mr Gove - who was a prominent Leave campaigner during last year's referendum - asked Mr Trump whether the UK was "at the front of the queue" for a trade deal with the US following the Brexit vote.

"I think you're doing great, I think it's going great," he replied.

The question referred to President Barack Obama's comments last April that the UK would be "at the back of the queue" if it left the EU.

"Trump said Brexit is going to happen, and it happened. Everybody thought I was crazy," the president-elect continued.

"Obama said, 'They'll go to the back of the line,' and then he had to retract his statement."

Mr Trump added: "Countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity, but I do think if they hadn't been forced to take in all of the refugees than you wouldn't have a Brexit."

Speaking about a potential US-UK trade deal, he said: "We're gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides."

Mr Trump also talked about the recent dip in the value of the pound.

"The fact that your pound sterling has gone down? Great," he said, "because business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK, as you know. I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing."

Image copyright The Times

During the interview, held in Mr Trump's offices in Trump Tower, New York, the president-elect also said he thought Mrs Merkel was the "by far the most important European leader".

"If you look at the European Union, it's Germany - it's basically a vehicle for Germany," he said.

Mr Trump described Mrs Merkel's immigration policy as a "big mistake", but said "people make mistakes".

"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from. And nobody even knows where they come from," he added.

Mr Trump also stressed that he would "start off trusting both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mrs Merkel" on taking office, but would "see how long that lasts".

Nato 'obsolete'

Talking about international security, Mr Trump argued that he had said "a long time ago that Nato had problems".

"One; that it was obsolete because it was designed many many years ago, and number two; that the countries weren't paying what they're supposed to pay."

Last November, Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Trump discussed the need for more countries to commit to spending 2% of national income on defence, when they spoke on the telephone after the US election.

And he said he believes the West should have built safe zones in Syria - paid for by the Gulf - to limit the surge.

Other topics Mr Trump discussed included his mother's "love" of the Queen.

"She was so proud of the Queen," he said. "She loved the ceremony and the beauty, because nobody does that like the English, and she had great respect for the Queen and liked her.

"Any time the Queen was on television, for an event, my mother would be watching."

Read full article on BREXIT bbc


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