As Trump’s UK visit faces backlash, here are some of his most high-profile friends in the country

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Politics


President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he boards Air Force One to depart for travel to a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, June 20, 2018.

With President Donald Trump set to arrive in the U.K. Thursday, he will no doubt be welcomed with open arms by a handful of loyal supporters and allies.

The visit is expected to be met with much backlash from protesters, many of whom believe he should not even be allowed into the country.

Critics like London Mayor Sadiq Khan have condemned some of Trump’s policies and actions, including the infamous travel ban on migrants from a number of Muslim-majority countries and his sharing of an anti-Muslim video from the notorious far-right group Britain First.

But the president also has a number of friends in the country. And those friends believe that Trump, being the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, ought to be welcomed into Britain.

CNBC takes a look at some of the most high-profile British figures backing Trump.

  • Nigel Farage

    Among Trump’s most notable cheerleaders are those who sit on the right of British politics.

    His agreement with the U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union, for instance, has won favor with so-called Euroskeptics in the country — mostly right-leaning politicians who see the economic bloc as inhibiting trade beyond the EU and allowing for unfettered immigration to the U.K.

    So it is no surprise that Nigel Farage, who is widely viewed as the architect of Brexit, having previously led the pro-Brexit U.K. Independence Party, is a supporter of Trump.

    In fact, Farage met with the Trump not too long after the latter’s victory in the 2016 presidential election — a moment captured in an infamous photo of the two sharing a golden elevator at the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

    That moment caused headaches for the British government, as it meant that Farage had become the first U.K. politician to meet with the U.S. leader following the election.

    The relationship between the two is so awkward for the U.K. government that Trump has reportedly been told that he must not meet with Farage at the president’s upcoming U.K. visit.



  • Theresa May

    Trump can rest assured knowing that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will be counted among his allies in the U.K.

    The long-standing “special relationship” between America and Britain means the two share strong ties over a multitude of issues, including trade, defense and foreign policy.

    The prime minister has described the U.S. as a “good friend” to the U.K.

    May and Trump have not always seen eye-to-eye, however.

    The two have clashed over some issues, including U.S. tariffs on imports from allies, the Iran nuclear deal and most recently the separation of migrant families at the U.S. border.

    May’s leadership is currently in doubt after the resignations of two of her key ministers, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Trump the other day said that the U.K. was in “somewhat turmoil” after the departures.


    U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Theresa May, U.K. prime minister.

  • Boris Johnson

    Though the U.K. leader is meeting with Trump, Boris Johnson could be set for a meeting of his own with the U.S. president.

    The former foreign secretary — who resigned from the post just a few days ago — was recently described by Trump as “a friend of mine.”

    “He’s been very nice to me, very supportive,” Trump said Tuesday. “I like Boris Johnson, and maybe we will get a chance to talk to him when we get over there.”

    Johnson resigned at the start of the week over differences with May over Brexit. Johnson, and fellow Brexiteer David Davis, are in favor of fully cutting ties with the EU, rather than sharing some alignment with the trading bloc.

    The outgoing minister was recorded admitting to be “increasingly admiring” of Trump last month at a private dinner. He suggested the U.S. leader could do a better job of negotiating the terms of Brexit than May’s government.


    Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018 in London, England.

  • Piers Morgan

    Celebrity presenter Piers Morgan has been friends with Trump for several years, and had the chance of speaking with the president in a rare international interview earlier this year.

    The two have disagreed on some matters, however.

    Morgan is in favor of increased gun control for instance, while Trump is against it. The U.S. head of state has used knife crime and terror in the U.K. as an example to support his pro-gun argument, claiming that tight restrictions on guns have not prevented violence.

    But the journalist has said that he thinks the president is a “pretty smart guy” and someone with “warmth,” “good humor” and a “sense of perspective.” He later defended his friendship with Trump, and said it would be “weird” to only be friends with people he agreed with.

    In the run up to the president’s U.K. visit, Morgan was deeply critical of plans for a 20-foot-tall blimp depicting Trump as an angry baby, dubbed “Trump Baby,” to fly over British Parliament.



  • Arron Banks

    Another of Trump’s backers in the U.K. is the controversial political donor Arron Banks.

    Banks — a businessman currently under fire over allegations of ties to the Kremlin — was among UKIP’s largest funders, and bankrolled the Farage-backed Leave.EU campaign during the Brexit referendum.

    Banks has dismissed allegations of the Brexit vote being influenced by Russia as politically motivated and coordinated by an establishment hellbent on reversing the outcome of the 2016 referendum.

    He was among the political figures to be seen pictured with the Trump after his election victory.



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