‘Fantastic’ Johnson praised by Trump in splendour of Hotel du Palais
The US president highlighted how different their relationship is compared with former premier Theresa May.
US President Donald Trump heaped praise on Boris Johnson as they held their first formal meeting.
“Do you know who this is, does everybody know?” the president asked the press – a mixture of US and British journalists – “he’s going to be a fantastic prime minister, I can tell you”.
Before talks over a working breakfast of scrambled eggs and veal sausages at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, Mr Trump was keen to highlight the difference in his relationship with Mr Johnson compared with Theresa May.
He said Mr Johnson was the “right man for the job” of handling Brexit, adding: “I’ve been saying that for a long time. It didn’t make your predecessor very happy.”
The famous hotel in Biarritz was where Henry Herbert Asquith became prime minister, appointed in 1908 by the holidaying Edward VII, who was a regular visitor to the resort town on the French Atlantic coast.
More than a century later, Mr Johnson was told he would be a “great” prime minister by the US President in the same venue.
Despite the friendly words, tough issues remain between the two leaders at the G7 summit.
Mr Johnson indicated some of the problems with a potential trade deal – highlighting the need to improve market access for British freight vessels and farmers in the US.
He also sounded a “sheeplike note” in defence of free trade as Mr Trump mulled over his ongoing dispute with China.
“We’re in favour of trade peace on the whole,” Mr Johnson said.
Their meeting on Sunday morning came after the pair were photographed chatting in the margins of the summit on Saturday night.
The Prime Minister prepared for his meeting with Mr Trump by taking a bracing dip in the Atlantic, swimming out to a rocky outcrop near the hotel – with French security watching on.