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Donald Trump, Woody Johnson
U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Winfield House, residence of the US Ambassador Woody Johnson, left, before boarding Marine One helicopter for the flight to Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, Friday, July 13, 2018 in London. Trump is in London, where his day will start with a viewing of a military demonstration before he heads to meetings with British Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, May's county house. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump says US supports Britain in Brexit talks

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Updated July 13, 2018 09:19 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump says the U.S. supports the British people's decision to "realize full self-government" as it negotiates an exit from the European Union.

Of the negotiations toward an exit, Trump says: "We will see how that goes."

He calls it a "very complicated negotiation." A slim majority of Britons voted in 2016 to break from the EU.

Trump criticized May's handling of the so-called Brexit negotiations in an interview with a British tabloid published on Thursday.

Trump also thanked May for her "very gracious hospitality." The prime minister welcomed the American president to her official residences outside of London.

The leaders are holding a news conference following meetings Friday at Chequers, May's official country estate.

Updated July 13, 2018 09:18 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May has disagreed —politely— with U.S. President Donald Trump's warning that her Brexit plans could scuttle a U.S.-U.K. free trade deal after the U.K. leaves the European Union.

May says her plan "provides the platform for Donald and me" to strike an "ambitious" trade deal.

Trump and May are holding a news conference after talks at the prime minister's country residence, Chequers, and after Trump gave an interview to The Sun newspaper slamming her and praising her rival Boris Johnson.

May praised the strength of the U.S.-U.K. bond. But in a gentle rebuke, May said "it is all of our responsibility to ensure that trans-Atlantic unity endures."

Updated July 13, 2018 08:54 AM EDT

Updated July 13, 2018 07:09 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump has viewed a joint military exercise along with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Trump's visit to the military academy on Friday morning was closed to the media. The military demonstration involving American and British officers came after Trump criticized May's Brexit plans in an interview published by The Sun newspaper late Thursday night.

Trump and May later traveled to Chequers, the prime minister's country retreat. Trump told reporters briefly that he and May worked together on NATO spending and spoke Thursday night.

The two leaders will hold one-on-one talks, a working lunch and a joint news conference at May's house, which is 40 miles (65 kms) from London.

Updated July 13, 2018 07:09 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — The British pound has fallen and U.K. politicians are reeling from the tornado-blast of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has humiliated Prime Minister Theresa May, crushed hopes of a quick U.S.-U.K. trade deal and boosted May's opponents in the high-stakes battle over Brexit.

All in less than 24 hours in Britain.

APTOPIX Belgium NATO Summit
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Trump slammed May's plans for Brexit and praised her political rival Boris Johnson. He also criticized immigration and said London Mayor Sadiq Khan had failed to stop terrorism.

The pound fell 0.6 percent to $1.31 Friday, and May's government struggled to put a brave face on a presidential visit that has veered wildly off course.

In one of the milder reactions, Universities Minister Sam Gyimah tweeted: "Where are your manners, Mr. President?"

CAMBERLEY, England (AP) — Bringing chaos with him as he moves across Europe, President Donald Trump's pomp-filled welcome to Britain was overshadowed on Friday by an explosive interview in which the president blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, blamed London's mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of immigration.

Donald Trump, Theresa May
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, gestures while speaking during their meeting with with British Prime Minister Theresa May, right, at Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, England, Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump told The Sun newspaper on Thursday — in an interview that was published as he was being feted by May at an opulent dinner at a country palace — that he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including plans to fly a giant balloon over Parliament on Friday that depicts him as an angry baby in a diaper.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," he said.

Trump, in the interview given before he left Brussels for the U.K., accused May of ruining what her country stands to gain from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union. He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an "excellent" prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May's Brexit plans.

Belgium NATO Summit
U.S. President Donald Trump raises his hands during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Trump added that May's "soft" blueprint for the U.K.'s future dealings with the EU would probably "kill" any future trade deals with the United States.

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal," Trump told the paper.

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Trump, who has linked his own election to the June 2016 referendum in which a majority of British voters supported leaving the EU, complained, "The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on."

Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Theresa May, Philip May
From left, first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and her husband Philip May, stand during the arrival ceremony at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

He also told the tabloid that he'd shared advice with May during Britain's negotiations with the EU and she ignored it.

The controversy will shadow the president across Britain on Friday much like the 20-foot (6-meter) tall balloon depicting Trump as an angry baby that was inflated in London early Friday and will be airborne for his visit. The president began his day reviewing a military exercise alongside May at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

From there, using a helicopter to remain above the protests while largely avoiding central London, Trump will meet with May and hold a press conference with the prime minister sure to be dominated by the fallout from the interview before he visits Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

The interview was the latest breach of diplomatic protocol from Trump, whose predecessors tended to avoid criticizing their foreign hosts. Details from Trump's interview with the paper became public as Trump was attending a black-tie dinner with May to welcome him to Britain with pomp and pageantry.

As for Johnson, Trump said: "I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he's got what it takes." He added, "I think he is a great representative for your country."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement after the tabloid interview was published, saying Trump "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much."

Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Theresa May, Philip May
From left, first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and her husband Philip May, watch the arrival ceremony at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

"As he said in his interview with the Sun she 'is a very good person' and he 'never said anything bad about her.' He thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person," Sanders wrote.

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On Thursday night, hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the U.S. ambassador's residence where Trump was staying, providing a preview of the forceful protests expected on Friday.

Trump acknowledged he didn't feel welcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the 20-foot-tall balloon depicting Trump as an angry baby.

Britain Trump Visit
A six-meter high cartoon baby blimp of U.S. President Donald Trump is flown as a protest against his visit, in Parliament Square in London, England, Friday, July 13, 2018. Trump is making his first trip to Britain as president after a tense summit with NATO leaders in Brussels and on the heels of ruptures in British Prime Minister Theresa May's government because of the crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is a Muslim. The president claimed Europe is "losing its culture" because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

"Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a sham," he said. "I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was and I don't mean that in a positive way."

In contrast to the president's sharp words, Trump's first event in England was an oasis of warm greetings at an evening reception at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill, the larger-than-life British leader cited by the president as a model of leadership. That was just one of several helicopter rides on the agenda for Trump, whose staff opted to keep him largely out of central London and the swarms of demonstrators who are likely to provide some of the defining images of his first official trip to the U.K.

Trump's Marine One departure from the ambassador's residence was met by jeers from demonstrators banging pots and pans, and another pack of protesters lined roads near the palace. Some of their signs read "Dump Trump," ''Lock Him Up" and "There Will Be Hell Toupee." Police worked overtime, their days off canceled.

Trump was greeted at the palace by May, whose government has been rocked by resignations from ongoing tumult over Brexit.

Britain Trump Visit
From left, first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and her husband Philip May, watch the arrival ceremony at Blenheim Palace, in Blenheim, England, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Will Oliver/Photo via AP)
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The outdoor arrival ceremony at Blenheim — Trump wore a tuxedo and first lady Melania Trump a butter-yellow, chiffon, off-the-shoulder gown — was a grand affair marked by a military band in bearskin hats, hundreds of business leaders in black tie and gorgeous setting sunlight.

The mood was far less jovial in Belgium earlier in the day.

During his 28 hours there, Trump had disparaged longtime NATO allies, cast doubt on his commitment to the mutual-defense organization and sent the 29-member pact into a frenzied emergency session.

Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending to relieve pressure on the U.S. budget. But there was little evidence other leaders had bowed to his wishes on that front.

Britain Trump Visit
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, is accompanied by Philip May, the husband of British Prime Minister Theresa May as she meets British military veterans known as "Chelsea Pensioners" at The Royal Hospital Chelsea in central London Friday, July 13, 2018. The pensioners, known for their scarlet coats and tricorne hats are a cherished British institution and are often seen parades, state events and other grand occasions.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno, Pool)

Trump claimed member nations had agreed to boost their defense budgets significantly and reaffirmed — after days of griping that the U.S. was being taken advantage of by its allies — that the U.S. remains faithful to the accord.

"The United States' commitment to NATO remains very strong," Trump told reporters at a surprise news conference following the emergency session of NATO members.

Neither Trump nor NATO offered specifics on what Trump said he had achieved. French President Emmanuel Macron quickly disputed Trump's claim that NATO allies had agreed to boost defense spending beyond their existing goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024.

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