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Trump Scrambles to Mend Bruised US-UK Ties

US President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the UK after assuming office comes between a NATO summit in Brussels and a meeting on Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a brief visit to Britain, on the heels of a tense NATO summit in Brussels, Trump scrambled to undo the damage caused by an interview in which he questioned UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans, warning they might hamper a bilateral trade deal with the United States, The Independent wrote.

At a joint news conference with May after the two had held one-on-one talks at the PM’s Chequers country retreat 40 miles from London, Trump heaped praise on May calling her “smart”, “tough”, “capable” and “incredible.

“I would much rather have her as my friend than my enemy,” he added.

Mentioning reports he had heard about May’s EU withdrawal plan threatening to torpedo a proposed trade deal between the two countries, Trump noted that, after reading May’s Brexit white paper, and being brought “up to speed” by the prime minister, he was convinced that such a deal “will absolutely be possible.”

Trump described Brexit as a “very tough situation… between the borders and the entries into the countries and all of the things.”

He said that a US-UK trade deal “will absolutely be possible, hours after he told The Sun Theresa May’s Brexit plan could kill an agreement.

“The only thing I ask is that she works it out so that we can have very even trade.”

He also described the UK-US relationship as the “highest level of special.”

May, for his part, said the US was “keen” to do a deal with the UK, adding that Britain “will do a trade deal with them and with others around the rest of the world.”

“As we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more. It’s an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the UK and right across the United States,” she said.

She insisted that the government’s Brexit agreement harshly criticized by supporters of a “hard Brexit,” fully “delivers” on the referendum vote.

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