Trump says May’s Brexit proposal would “probably kill” her chances at a US trade deal
Not what she wanted to hear.
Hours into his visit, Trump's dropped a major spanner in the works fo the prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.
What it means: In an exclusive interview with the Sun, Trump expressed his disapproval for Theresa May's White Paper on Brexit (the one discussed at Chequers last week, which was formally released to MPs yesterday).
"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of the UK, so it will probably kill the deal," he said. "... We have enough difficulty with the European Union."
This is huge for Theresa May. Part of the justification for Trump's visit was to strengthen ties with the US in the hopes of a favourable trade deal post–Brexit. Trump had offered to negotiate an early deal with May when she visited him last year, but now that he thinks the substance of Britain's approach is no longer "what the people voted for", he's backed out.
May was hoping to convince MPs that just because this deal would keep the UK fairly closely aligned with EU rules, doesn't mean trade deals with other countries couldn't be struck. This obviously makes it a lot harder for her to argue that line with confidence.