US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has expressed hope that former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would challenge UK Prime Minister Theresa May after quitting her cabinet earlier in the week.
Bannon made the remarks Saturday in an interview with British Daily Telegraph newspaper, insisting that now was not the “right time” for a politician like May to lead the UK.
“Theresa May has got a lot of great qualities – I am not sure if it is the right leader at the right time,” said Bannon, who played a key role in Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 election but was fired by the US president in August 2017.
“Now is the moment,” he added as quoted by the daily. “If Boris Johnson looks at this... There comes an inflection point, the Chequers deal was an inflection point, we will have to see what happens.”
The remarks by Bannon came following the publication of a controversial interview Trump gave to the British tabloid The Sun in which he censured the British premier's plan for leaving the European Union and applauded Johnson, who stepped down days earlier in a surprise resignation over May’s strategy, arguing that it was killing the “Brexit dream” with self-doubt.
"I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country," Trump further asserted, emphasizing that Johnson would make a "great prime minister."
The visiting US president then added: "Well, I am not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes."
Trump is currently in Scotland on the third day of his four-day tour of the United Kingdom, where he met with Queen Elizabeth II at her Windsor Castle residence on Friday as hundreds of thousands protested against him in central London.
Trump later asserted that he hoped for a great trade deal with Britain after Brexit.
Meanwhile, May’s government was rocked by surprise resignation of Johnson and her chief Brexit negotiator David Davis just days after she appeared to have gained the backing of her cabinet for her strategy at a meeting at her Chequers country residence.