LONDON – The U.K. woke Friday to discover that President Trump had thrown fuel onto the country’s already fiery political debate — on a day in which he will hold a joint press conference with under-siege Prime Minister Theresa May, meet with Queen Elizabeth II and witness tens of thousands of demonstrators march through London in protest of his three-day working visit.
The looming press conference was made immeasurably more awkward after The Sun published an extraordinary interview with Trump, in which the president doubled down on his criticism of May’s approach to handling Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The article was published shortly after Trump arrived Thursday to scattered protests in front of Downing Street and the residence at which he was staying.
In that interview, he said that May’s new, softer approach to Brexit — which would leave Britain sticking to a “common rulebook” with Brussels on goods — would kill off the chances of a much sought-after U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
“We are cracking down right now on the European Union because they have not treated the United States fairly on trading,” he told The Sun. “No, if they would do that I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.”
While he did praise May in the interview, he also said May had not taken his advice on Brexit, something he said was “fine.”
“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” he said, before saying negotiations had gone on “too long.”
The comment marks a devastating blow for May, who is fighting for her political life after announcing her plan…