LONDON — U.S. President Donald Trump says he would take a “tougher” attitude toward Brexit negotiations than the approach now being used by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn’t negotiate it the way it’s (being) negotiated… I would have had a different attitude,” he says in an ITV interview.
He says: “I would have said that the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be.”
Britain is preparing to leave the European Union in March 2019. The complex negotiations have moved slowly and May’s Cabinet seems deeply divided over how best to separate Britain from the 28-nation bloc.
Trump expressed annoyance with EU trade policy: “We cannot get our product in,” he said. “It’s very, very tough. And yet, they send their product to us — no taxes, very little taxes.”
He says his problems with the EU “may morph into something very big” from a trade standpoint.
In the interview with journalist Piers Morgan, Trump has high praise for French President Emmanuel Macron.
“He’s a great guy,” Trump says. “His wife is fantastic. I like them a lot. You know, we had dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and everything was closed.”
He says he looks forward to visiting Britain, where he has been invited for a state visit to be hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, and says he doesn’t care that some Britons want him to stay away.
He even joked about his hair: “It’s hanging in, barely,” he says.
Discussing the upcoming royal wedding that will feature an American bride, he says Britain’s Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, look like a “lovely couple” and says he doesn’t know if he’s been invited to their May 19 nuptials.
Told by Morgan that Markle had called him a “divisive misogynist,” the president struck a friendly note: “Well, I still hope they’re happy,” he says.
Trump also says that his administration might not withdraw from the Paris climate accord if terms more favorable to the United States are reached, in part because he likes Macron.
Asked about his treatment of women, Trump says he has “tremendous respect” for women but does not consider himself a feminist.
“I think that would be, maybe, going too far,” he says.
The interview was conducted Thursday during Trump’s brief visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The guest list for Harry and Markle’s May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle has not been made public. The prince’s press team said invitations have not been sent out yet. It is not clear if a final list has been drawn up.
The British press has been filled with speculation that Harry and Markle might snub Trump and invite former U.S. President Barack Obama as a wedding guest. The prince and Obama have met on several occasions, and Obama gave Harry a rare interview last year that was broadcast on the BBC.
Trump, in contrast, has angered many people in Britain with his crackdown on immigration and his climate change policies.
During the interview, he seemed open to revisiting his pledge to withdraw from 2015 Paris climate accord if the deal could be substantially revised. Under the pact, nations set their own goals to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases. Because of legal technicalities America can’t get out until November of 2020.
“If somebody said, go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal,” Trump says.
“Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel (Macron). I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States.”
Trump said the climate has been cooling as well as warming and asserted that ice caps have not been shrinking as predicted.
“The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records,” he said.
However, those remarks don’t quite match what data shows and scientists say. The world hasn’t been cooling except for normal day-to-day weather variations; it has been just the opposite. And there have been far more records for shrinking ice on the top and the bottom of the world than growing, despite what the president claimed.