NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage visited Donald Trump at his home on Saturday (Nov 12), after suggesting he could act as a go-between to help smooth British relations with the US President-elect.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is not expected to meet the incoming leader until early next year and Farage has suggested her criticisms of Trump in the early days of the campaign could damage ties with Washington.
“We’re just tourists!” Farage, head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), told reporters as he waited for an elevator to take him up to the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City.
In brief comments later to reporters, Kellyanne Conway, manager of Trump’s election campaign, confirmed the pair met while the president-elect was upstairs in the Trump Tower, spending time with his family, receiving phone calls and visitors.
“I think they enjoy each other’s company, and they actually had a chance to talk about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world,” Conway said of the Farage meeting.
Farage later tweeted a photograph of himself with Trump, both men standing in front of a pair of golden doors and smiling broadly, the president-elect giving the camera a thumbs-up.
“It was a great honor to spend time with @realDonaldTrump,”Farage wrote on Twitter. “He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I’m confident he will be a good President.”
Farage said Trump’s support for the relationship between Britain and the United States was very strong. “This is a man with whom we can do business,” he tweeted.
He had been especially pleased, Farage added, at Trump’s“very positive reaction” to the idea that a bust of former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill be put back in the Oval Office.
A day after Trump’s election victory, Farage told a British radio station he was “absolutely happy” and called on the US real estate mogul to reverse “loathsome” Barack Obama’s policy by making Britain his top priority.
He also joked about sexual assault allegations against Trump, urging him to “schmooze” British Prime Minister Theresa May – but not touch her. He said he could attend any meeting to be the “responsible adult to make sure everything is OK.”
Farage has told the BBC he is willing to help May’s government build bridges with the US president-elect, and one UKIP official has suggested Farage be the next British ambassador to the United States.
Farage, who spoke at a Trump rally during the election campaign, had predicted the former reality TV host would tap into the same dissatisfaction among voters that led to Britain deciding on June 23 to leave the European Union, or Brexit.
Trump made repeated references to Brexit during his campaign, saying it had highlighted the desire for change among voters frustrated with traditional politics.