Trump: Boris Johnson would 'make a great prime minister'

Trump: Boris Johnson would 'make a great prime minister'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE says United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make a "great prime minister" in an interview published Thursday, a shocking remark that comes as Trump visits the U.K. and current Prime Minister Theresa May

In an interview with The Sun, a U.K. tabloid owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Trump insisted that he was not "pitting" Johnson against May, with whom he is scheduled to have lunch on Friday.

But Trump also said that Johnson "obviously likes" him and that he has "a lot of respect" for the former London mayor, who resigned as foreign secretary this week amid deep-seated differences with May over her strategy for the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

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"I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country," Trump said. 

Asked if he thought that Johnson could one day ascend to the role of prime minister, Trump said "Well, I am not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes."

Trump's comment amounted to an extraordinary vote of confidence for Johnson at a time of deep vulnerability for May and her government.

In his resignation letter, Johnson railed against May's strategy, warning that the U.K. is "truly headed for the status of colony." 

The U.K. revealed the long-awaited white paper this detailing its plan for a long-term relationship with the E.U. The U.K. is officially set to leave the 28-country union by March 2019.

In his interview with The Sun, Trump was also deeply critical of May's approach to Brexit. He said that the prime minister's plan would likely "kill" the potential for a trade deal with the U.S. and boasted that he had told May how to negotiate an exit plan for the U.K. 

"She didn't agree, she didn't listen to me," he told the tabloid.