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Leaked documents reveal Trump 'doesn't understand where hatred in NI comes from'

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Mr Trump spoke about Northern Ireland in a lunch meeting (AP)

Mr Trump spoke about Northern Ireland in a lunch meeting (AP)

AP/PA Images

Mr Trump spoke about Northern Ireland in a lunch meeting (AP)

US president Donald Trump asked then-prime minister Theresa May why there was so much "hatred" in Northern Ireland, according to leaked documents recorded during high-level UK-US meetings.

In the notes obtained by the Telegraph newspaper, Mr Trump, then a recently-elected American president openly wondered about Northern Ireland during a lunch hosted at the White House on January 27, 2017.

Mr trump is said to have wondered how Northern Ireland would fare after Brexit - given its position inside the UK but sharing a land border with Ireland, an EU member.

“What about Northern Ireland?” Mr Trump asked, according to the notes. “There’s such hatred there. I just don’t understand where it comes from."

The meeting with Mrs May and Mr Trump's closest advisors gave the leaders an opportunity to strike up a rapport away from formal policy discussions and at the time was seen as a coup - with the UK politician the first world leader to be hosted at the president's residence.

After making his comments about Northern Ireland, Mr Trump is quoted as then jumping to Scotland, calling Alex Salmond a “loser”.

The two politicians had a long-running feud over wind farms construction near one of Mr Trump's Scottish golf courses.

The notes taken from the informal discussions covered a wide-range of topics, including the FBI investigation into Kremlin interference in the election Mr Trump won, and abortion.

In later notes, taken at separate meetings when Boris Johnson had become prime minister, Mr Johnson is said to have privately told US diplomats that Donald Trump was “making America great again”.

The Prime Minister is quoted telling the US ambassador to Britain in August 2017, when he was foreign secretary, that Mr Trump was doing “fantastic stuff” on foreign policy issues like China, Syria and North Korea.

Last year, Mr Trump started a visit to Ireland in June by comparing its post-Brexit border with Northern Ireland to the US border with Mexico, along which he wants to build a permanent wall.

Speaking at Shannon airport on June 5, he said: "I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border,” he said at a joint press conference with then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

"I mean, we have a border situation in the United States, and you have one over here. But I hear it’s going to work out very well here."

Belfast Telegraph