Trump questions Britain's handling of Brexit, eyes bilateral trade deal

Donald Trump

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"I mean she's got to do what she's got to do", he said at the White House as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.

He said he once lived in a country where if he had been himself he would have been breaking laws and now that has all changed.

"I will tell you, I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office as he met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Mr Trump said he had seen Mr O'Rourke's announcement and said: "I've never seen so much hand movement".

Asked if Brexit is likely to be delayed, Mr Trump said: "I think they are probably going to have to do something because right now they are in the midst of a very short period of time - the end of the month - and they are not going to be able to do that".

Ireland is at the center of the practical discussion of how Britain would separate itself from the European Union and its open movement of goods and people, because the only affected land border runs between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Trump said he planned to stay out of the negotiations. "But I think it could've been negotiated in a different manner, frankly", he said. "Maybe I shouldn't let you do it, I'll just get you in trouble". We want to make sure there is trade between Britain and Ireland.

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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".

The visit and the news conference were the day after the June 23 Brexit vote, not the day before.

Amid this week's Westminster turmoil, Mr Trump criticised British Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of the UK's departure from the EU.

His comments came on a crucial week for Brexit, as MPs first voted against Mrs May's amended deal, then rejected leaving the bloc with no deal before opting to request an extension to Article 50 on Thursday.

"If they don't talk to us we are going to do something pretty severe economically. He does great work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago", the vice president said to applause. "Everything does. One way or the other, it's going to work out".

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