“Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT.”
– @realdonaldtrump, 13 Dec 2019
President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson at a G7 summit in France (Getty Images)
President Trump had a slightly bumpy relationship with Theresa May, the first British prime minister he had to deal with in his presidency.
He arrived for his first visit to the UK as president on 12 July 2018 but it was immediately overshadowed by the publication of an interview the US president gave to The Sun newspaper.
In it, he said the UK would “probably not” get a trade deal with the US if the prime minister’s Brexit plan went ahead.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” he told the paper, adding that Mrs May’s plan “will definitely affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way.”
But at a joint news conference on the second day of his visit, he changed his tone and said a trade deal “will absolutely be possible” after the UK leaves the EU. He also said Brexit was an “incredible opportunity”.
Mr Trump also met the Queen, although there was no open carriage ride with her through the streets of the capital as the trip was designated a “working visit” rather than an official state visit.
Asked about the protests that greeted his arrival in the UK, he insisted many people were “delighted” he was visiting, adding: “I get thousands of notifications from people in the UK that they love the president of the United States.”
This time around, the president was given the honour of a state banquet at Buckingham Palace with the Queen, during which he praised the “eternal friendship” between the UK and US.
A few weeks later, Mr Trump also laid into Mrs May and her proposed Brexit deal, tweeting: “What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way.”
So it was little surprise when Mr Trump appeared excited to congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming the new prime minister in July 2019, saying: “He will be great!”
When asked what advice he would give to Mr Johnson on Brexit, the president replied: “He needs no advice. He’s the right man for the job. I’ve been saying that for a long time.”
While the pair have enjoyed warm personal relations, there have been some differences on policy, most notably on China, the Iran nuclear deal and the future of Nato.
But after this year, they now have another thing in common – they both got and recovered from coronavirus. When Mr Johnson left intensive care back in April, Mr Trump said it was “great news” and after he returned to the White House to recover from the virus in October, he thanked the British PM for “his friendship and support”.