Donald Trump could meet 'good guys' Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson during UK trip
30 May 2019, 15:34 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 20:05
Donald Trump could meet his "friends" Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson on his three-day trip to the UK next week.
The US president lavished praise on the Brexit-backing pair - describing them as "very good guys" - ahead of his state visit, which begins on Monday.
Speaking outside the White House, Mr Trump revealed he "may" meet Brexit Party leader Mr Farage and Mr Johnson - who is currently standing to be the next Conservative leader and prime minister - during his time in Britain.
He said: "Nigel Farage is a friend of mine, Boris is a friend of mine. They're two very good guys, very interesting people."
Referring to last week's EU election, won by Mr Farage's party, Mr Trump added: "Nigel's had a big victory, he's picked up 32% of the vote, starting from nothing.
"And, I think they're big powers over there. I think they've done a good job."
However, Mr Trump - who labelled himself "Mr Brexit" during his election campaign - shied away from directly backing either man.
He added: "I like them, I mean they're friends of mine.
"But I haven't thought about supporting them, maybe it's not my business to support people, but I have a lot of respect for both of those men."
The president's national security adviser John Bolton has said Mr Trump is looking forward to negotiating with a "fully independent Britain" after Brexit.
Asked whether or not Mr Trump should have dealings with Brexit Party leaders during a delicate political time in the UK, Mr Bolton said: "The president will do what the president wants."
There have been no formal requests or discussions of a meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Johnson while the president is in the UK next week, according to a UK official.
"He does know Boris, he is a friend - but no - there have been no requests," they said.
It has been speculated Mr Johnson will attend a private dinner hosted by Mr Trump next week.
The UK official said it was a matter for Mr Trump, adding: "What he does in his down time, in his private time, is a matter for him."
The official dispelled any concerns the meeting, ahead of Mrs May's imminent departure, would be problematic.
"I don't think it will be remotely awkward," they added.
Mrs May and Mr Trump are expected to talk about an upcoming meeting between the US president and Russia's Vladimir Putin, while they will also discuss the role of Chinese company Huawei in future 5G networks.
The UK and US are at odds over the issue.
On his previous visit to the UK, in July last year, Mr Trump claimed Mr Johnson "would be a great prime minister" in a news conference alongside Theresa May.
He also claimed he had predicted UK voters would choose to quit the UK "the day before Brexit" during a visit to Scotland in June 2016.
In fact, he arrived in Scotland a day after the EU referendum and welcomed the result.
That working visit was marked by huge protests, including the flying of a blimp depicting the US president as a baby in Parliament Square.
More protests are expected again when Mr Trump makes his official state visit next week, with the team behind the Trump blimp "confident" it will fly again.
Next week, Mr Trump will be welcomed by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, which will also play host to a state banquet on the president's behalf.
Mr Trump will also hold talks with Theresa May, just days before her departure as Conservative leader.
He is then expected to travel to Portsmouth for a D-Day commemorative event on 5 June, before attending a ceremony in France a day later on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Earlier this year, Mr Trump expressed his surprise at "how badly" the Brexit negotiations had gone under Mrs May's leadership.
He has claimed the prime minister "didn't listen" to his advice on Brexit negotiations, which Mrs May has revealed was a suggestion to sue the EU.
Mr Farage was the first UK politician to meet Mr Trump following his election victory in 2016.