Donald Trump wades into Tory leadership race as he says Boris Johnson would make 'excellent' PM
Donald Trump has heaped praise on Boris Johnson, saying the Tory leadership hopeful would make an "excellent" Prime Minister.
The US President - who will kick off a three-day state visit to London on Monday - said Mr Johnson would do a "very good job" as Britain's new leader.
And he claimed that other Conservative leadership candidates had urged him to endorse them, in a move he argued would be "great" for their chances in the Tory race.
President Trump told The Sun in an interview from the Oval Office: "It’s something that I find very interesting. I actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players.
"But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent."
The controversial commander-in-chief added: "I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person."
Twelve Tory MPs are currently battling it out to succeed Theresa May in Number 10, and President Trump revealed: "Other people have asked me for an endorsement too. I have been asked for endorsements."
While President Trump would not name names, he claimed that any candidate he backed would receive a major boost.
"I could help anybody if I endorse them," he said. "I mean, we’ve had endorsement where they have gone up for forty, fifty points at a shot.
"Now that is here, but I understand over there would be a great endorsement."
Elsewhere in his Sun interview, the US leader took aim at Theresa May's handling of Brexit, saying the current Prime Minister had allowed the EU "to have all the cards" in talks over Britain's exit.
"I am sure that you could have built up a big advantage for your side and negotiated from strength," he argued.
"You have to build up your side in terms of points, or you are just going in and asking, I mean it was just asking and you know, they would say whatever they wanted.
'RACIST AND SEXUAL PREDATOR'
The latest intervention from President Trump risks sparking a diplomatic rift just days before his UK trip - expected to be met with heavy protests - kicks off.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already confirmed he will boycott a state dinner for the President at Buckingham Palace, while Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry on Friday branded him a "racist and sexual predator".
Ms Thornberry said: "Next week the Tory government are going to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump, a president who is destroying all the values that have always united Britain and America.
"Destroying the world order, the chances of a Palestinian state and our efforts to tackle climate change. He is trying to take away the rights of women worldwide to control our own bodies."
And she added: "His words and his conduct betray him as a racist and a sexual predator. This president does not deserve the honour of a state visit. He is not welcome."