Trump faults British leader’s handling of Brexit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday sharply criticized Britain’s handling of negotiations over leaving the European Union, saying the talks have been bungled and the wrenching debate was dividing the country.

“I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said.

Trump said he gave Prime Minister Theresa May his ideas on how she could negotiate a successful deal for leaving the 28-member group of nations. But “she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine. I mean she’s got to do what she’s got to do,” he said at the White House as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

“I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly,” Trump said.

Trump spoke hours before British lawmakers voted to delay Brexit for at least three months. Britain’s exit from the EU had been scheduled for March 29. The motion commits May’s government to seek an extension until June 30 if Parliament approves a U.K.-EU withdrawal deal next week.

Trump predicted later Thursday the situation eventually would work itself out. The president said he and Varadkar discussed the issue during their Oval Office meeting. Varadkar opposes Britain’s EU exit and expressed concern about how such a move would affect Northern Ireland.

“We talked about Brexit, something that’s turning out to be a little more complex than they thought it would be,” Trump said at an annual Capitol Hill luncheon for the Irish. “But it’ll all work out. Everything does. One way or the other, it’s going to work out.”

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