Trump Calls On-the-Record Interview Attacking British Prime Minister “Fake News”

“I said tremendous things.”

i-Images/ZUMA

President Donald Trump claimed that he never criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May just hours after a British newspaper published an interview where the president attacked May’s plan to leave the European Union, saying it could threaten trade deals with the United States. Trump instead called the interview “fake news” because it didn’t include remarks he said he made in praise of May.

The Sun released audio of the on-the-record interview, which did include such positive comments.

During a joint press conference with May at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat, a BBC reporter asked Trump if his remarks were “really the behavior of a friend?”

Trump responded, suggesting that the recording of the interview would vindicate him: “I have a lot of respect for the prime minister. Unfortunately there was a story that was done which was generally fine, but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister, and I said tremendous things. Fortunately, we tend to record stories now so we have it for your enjoyment.”

“We record when we do with reporters, it’s called fake news. And we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument,” he added.

The Sun‘s explosive interview on Thursday was a significant embarrassment to May, who had just hosted a lavish dinner in honor of Trump’s first official trip to the United Kingdom, and who is working to cement trade deals with the US ahead of Brexit. After telling the newspaper that May’s approach to Brexit could “kill” a potential trade deal with the US, Trump attempted to walk the comment back in the joint news conference. “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but whatever you’re going to do is OK with me,” he said. “Just make sure you can trade with us, that’s all that matters.”

At the press conference, Trump stood by a portion of the broader interview he called “fake news,” defending his statement to the Sun that immigration is destroying the “cultural fabric” of Europe.

“I think it’s been very bad for Europe,” he reiterated to reporters on Friday. “I think what has happened is very tough.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.