- Donald Trump reportedly has invited Boris Johnson to the United States in January for a “victory tour” to celebrate his general election win.
- But the UK prime minister is apparently reluctant to visit while Trump’s impeachment saga continues.
- Both Johnson and Trump are keen to negotiate a UK-US free trade once the UK leaves the EU next month.
Donald Trump has invited Boris Johnson to celebrate his general election win with a “victory tour” of the United States next month, according to reports, which add that the prime minister is reluctant to accept the invitation.
The US President made the offer during his congratulatory phone call to Johnson after he won an 80-strong majority at the UK’s general election earlier this month. Trump told the prime minister that he and he his partner Carrie Symonds could “go wherever they wanted” in the US, the Mail on Sunday reported.
However, Johnson is reportedly reluctant to visit while Trump is facing impeachment. The President is accused of seeking help from Ukraine to damage his political rivals ahead of the 2020 election.
Johnson would reportedly prefer to delay the visit until he has delivered Brexit, and until he has completed a major reshuffle of his Cabinet in February, when he is expected to put Michael Gove in charge of trade. That would allow him to bring Gove, his closest ally, on the trip ahead of expected talks over a post-Brexit trade deal.
A source close to the White House confirmed to the Sun newspaper that talks over a trip were taking place, and said: “The president has made it clear that he wants to strike a massive trade deal with the UK and has underlined his commitment by inviting Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds to visit him in the US in the new year.”
Johnson and Trump have repeatedly praised each other. The president has called his British counterpart a “friend” while the prime minister has saluted Trump’s “many, many good qualities.”
But Johnson appeared to recognise that Trump’s toxic image in the UK posed a serious risk to his election campaign, and largely avoided the President when he visited London for a NATO summit at the beginning of December.
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Johnson reportedly asked Trump to pull out of a scheduled interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan, amid fears he would make a off-the-cuff remark which could derail the Tory election campaign. The interview did not go ahead.
It followed a Trump visit to London in June, when he suggested in a joint press conference with Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May that the NHS would be “on the table” in US-UK trade talks, before attempting to backtrack.
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