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How Trump’s ‘brash brand of politics’ is playing with British audiences

After Monday’s royal welcome of President Trump in the UK, Tuesday was reserved for business and a final meeting with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump took jabs at London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, and also said he didn’t see much in the way of crowds protesting his visit. Yamiche Alcindor reports and talks to Judy Woodruff from London.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    After the pageantry of yesterday's royal welcome in London for President Trump, today was reserved for business and a final meeting and press conference with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.

    Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, is traveling with the president.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    For what will likely be the last time, President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May stood together as heads of government. The two have had their differences over the years, but, on Tuesday, Mr. Trump saved his most pointed attacks for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

  • President Donald Trump:

    He's a negative force, not a positive force. And I think he should actually focus on his job. He'd be a lot better if he did that. He could straighten out some of the problems that he has, and probably some of the problems that he's caused.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Throughout the presidential visit, Khan hasn't been mincing words.

  • Sadiq Khan:

    Donald Trump is the poster boy for the far right movement. I think, in years to come, by the way, we're going to regret giving this state visit to Donald Trump.

    What sort of message does it send to friends in Hungary, in Italy, in France, and elsewhere and all around the Western world, where they have seen a rise of nativist, populist movements?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Meanwhile, May pushed back on the president. She defended her handling of Brexit, which Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized.

  • Theresa May:

    And I seem to remember the president suggested that I sue the European Union, which we didn't do. We went into negotiations and we came out with a good deal.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I would have sued. But that's OK.

    (LAUGHTER)

    I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know. She's probably a better negotiator than I am.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president also took jabs at Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Last night, the lawmaker boycotted the state dinner honoring Mr. Trump. Today, Corbyn joined an anti-Trump rally.

  • Jeremy Corbyn:

    So I say to our visitors that have arrived this week, think on, please, about a world that is one of peace and disarmament, is one of recognizing the values of all people, is a world that defeats racism, defeats misogyny, defeats the religious hatred being fueled by the far right in politics in Britain, Europe, and the United States.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    In Central London, thousands of protesters marched down closed-off streets. They gathered in a square just blocks from the president. The throngs made plenty of noise, but Mr. Trump said he couldn't find them.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I said, where are the protests? I don't see any protests. I did see a small protest today when we came, very small. So, a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president also weighed in on pressing issues back in the U.S. He defended his plan to impose tariffs on Mexico over immigration.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Mexico shouldn't allow millions of people to try and enter our country, and they could stop it very quickly, and I think they will. And if they won't, we're going to put tariffs.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    He also talked about the U.K.'s use of advanced telecommunication networks known as 5G. England is using equipment from the giant Chinese tech firm Huawei. The United States is concerned that it's too close to the government, and that Beijing could use Huawei equipment for spying.

    The White House has said it might curtail its intelligence-sharing with the U.K. if it sticks with the company. But, today, Trump walked that threat back.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We're going to have absolutely an agreement on Huawei and everything else. We have an incredible intelligence relationship, and we will be able to work out any differences.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    After the press conference, the president and first lady returned to the U.S. ambassador's residence. But they weren't alone for long. Nigel Farage was spotted on his way to meet the president.

    He's one of the controversial driving forces behind Brexit and the leader of the party by the same name. Before arriving in London, Trump praised Farage and fellow Brexit supporter Boris Johnson.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Nigel Farage is a friend. Boris is a friend of mine. They're two very good guys, very interesting people. Nigel's had a big victory. He's picked up 32 percent of the vote, starting from nothing.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Their meeting was private, but it's a sign that Mr. Trump is already thinking beyond Theresa May. And by the end of two days of pomp and protest, London also seemed to be moving on.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And Yamiche joins me now from London.

    So, Yamiche, how has President Trump navigated this state visit? And tell me about his meetings with Prime Minister May as she prepares to step down as the leader of her party?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, he's had a really raucous visit to the United Kingdom ever since the beginning.

    Before he even landed, he was insulting the mayor of London, calling him a stone-cold loser. He also took aim at Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex and a member of the royal family. He said that she was nasty because she called him a misogynist in 2016.

    He did seem to pivot and start to enjoy the pageantry of Buckingham Palace, spending time with the queen. And today was really about politics and policy. He met with Theresa May and talked about a possible U.K.-U.S. trade deal. He said he wants to iron out those details.

    He was also meeting with supporters of Brexit. So I think he was really trying to mesh both his brash brand of politics with also his role as a statesman.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, we have seen these large anti-Trump protests in London since he arrived.

    What sense do you have of the public's reaction to him and this visit?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, emotions have really been running high here in London ever since the president landed here.

    The most vocal people who are reacting to President Trump are reacting negatively. I heard from a number of people who say that they think President Trump is racist. Some people told me they see him as a global symbol of far-right extremism.

    But I should say there were people with "Make America Great" hats, saying that the president is misunderstood. They said he should also get credit for being supportive of Brexit before the U.K. decided to leave the E.U. So, in some ways, he really had people riled up here in London, as he always does when he's — when he's around the world.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And different subject, Yamiche, but, while in London, the president today doubled down on his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico. And he had a message for members of his own party, the Republicans, if they tried to block that.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president said if Republicans on Capitol Hill try to block the tariffs that he wants to impose on Mexico, that they would be foolish.

    He said he has high approval ratings with Republicans and thinks he knows best about how to deal with Mexico and immigration. But it is important to note that Republican lawmakers had a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., with White House officials. And they said that they wanted to send a message to the White House. And that message was, if it comes to that, we think we have the votes necessary in both the House and the Senate to block these tariffs.

    So it's a rare rift between the president and his party. And we're going to have to see how it plays out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Rare, for sure.

    All right, Yamiche, continuing to report on President Trump's visit, thank you.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks, Judy.

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