Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit movement, has become the first British politician to meet with US president-elect Donald Trump, for a “very productive” meeting where they talked about “freedom and winning and what this all means for the world”. Farage, the head of the UK Independence Party, was spotted in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.
“We’re just tourists!” when reporters asked what he was doing there.
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Later, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said the two met in the President-elect’s residence inside. “I think they enjoy each other’s company, and they actually had a chance to talk about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world,” Conway said. Farage, 52, later posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter of him with Trump, who gives a thumbs-up for the camera.
“It was a great honour to spend time with Donald Trump today. He was relaxed, and full of good ideas. I’m confident he will be a good President,” read the caption. “His support for the US-UK relationship is very strong. This is a man with whom we can do business,” Farage wrote.
A longtime Trump supporter, Farage introduced 70-year-old Trump at a rally in Mississippi in August and later worked in the spin room as a surrogate after the second presidential debate in October. Trump made frequent references to Brexit throughout the campaign, saying it demonstrated the wish for change among voters frustrated with establishment politics.
The Trump-Farage meeting will be seen by some as an embarrassment for British Prime Minister Theresa May who spoke with Trump by telephone this week, but has yet to meet him in person.
In London, Downing Street said Farage had “no role” in the government’s relationship with the incoming US administration. May will not be meeting Trump until next year – yet a UK opposition politician has already popped in for a chat, the BBC reported.
There are political dangers for the British Prime Minister. May certainly will not be welcoming this opportunity for UKIP to bask in the reflected glory of a Trump victory, the report said. The shock outcome of the US election led many experts to draw parallels with Britain’s June 23 referendum after Trump said the vote would be “Brexit plus plus plus”.