Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump sharply criticizes British leader's handling of Brexit

Trump sharply criticizes British leader's handling of Brexit

Donald Trump has said Theresa May ignored his suggestions on how to negotiate Brexit and he is surprised at how badly it has been handled.

Vice President Mike Pence hosted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his same-sex partner at the Naval Observatory for the Friends of Ireland breakfast on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of a private meeting with Mr Varadkar, the U.S. president said Brexit was "tearing countries apart".

"I will tell you, I'm surprised at how badly it has all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. I hate to see everything being ripped apart right now".

"As you can imagine, with everything else going on at the moment, I've barely had time to think about that", Varadkar said, a reference to votes on Britain's exit from the European Union earlier that day.

"Needless to say we have very different views on Brexit as to whether it's a good thing, but it was a real opportunity for me to set out Ireland's position, particularly when it comes to protecting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and protecting the border".

Varadkar's visit came as the White House is celebrating the annual St. Patrick's Day, a holiday that honors Irish culture. "And with the help of the administration, we were able to save those jobs, so thank you very much for that".

Mr Murphy said, 'Brexit, and the uncertainty surrounding it, poses unique and hard challenges for Ireland and Irish business.

Leo Varadkar visit to US – Day 2
US Vice President Mike Pence waves towards Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

He also said another vote on Brexit would be unfair, and reiterated that he would like to see a US trade deal with the United Kingdom after it leaves the EU.

The US president also elaborated on the relationship that he's developing with Varadkar.

"So, whatever happens in the coming months, we are sure about our place in the world, we know where we are going and, as a country, we are confident about the future".

Mr Varadkar also said Ireland wants frictionless trade with Britain and believes in free trade and that, while it may be years before the United Kingdom "sorts itself out", the European Union is "available to talk trade with the US".

"I'm not going to comment on Brexit". The president said he and Varadkar discussed the issue during their Oval Office meeting. "I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner", he said.

Pence called Varadkar's remarks at Thursday's breakfast "inspiring words".

At the traditional shamrock presentation at the White House on Thursday evening, Mr Varadkar praised Mr Trump's ambitions to "make America Great Again".

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