Hundreds of thousands of protesters descended on central London Tuesday, during President Donald Trump’s second state visit to the United Kingdom.
When asked about the protests and insults at a Tuesday press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump called the protests “fake news.”
“I didn’t see the protesters until just a little while ago and it was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons. So it was fake news,” said Trump.
Trump added that London Mayor Sadiq Khan was not “doing a very good job,” one day after calling him a “stone cold loser.” Khan compared Trump’s temperament to that of an 11-year-old child after his remarks on Monday and said that he was “not offended in the slightest.”
Labour Leader Jeremy Coryn spoke at a protest in London’s Trafalgar Square, saying that he wants to maintain the lines of communication between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“But I’m very disappointed, particularly today, on the wonderful festival of Eid [marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan], that our mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been attacked in the way that he has,” said Corbyn, adding he is proud that the city has a Muslim mayor.
Tuesday’s protests included the infamous Trump Baby Blimp flying high again, as well as this item, which appears to show the president tweeting on the latrine and saying, “You’re fake news! I’m a very stable genius!”
One of the centerpieces of the London protests. Trump on a golden commode, and it talks, says “fake news” and “witch hunt” pic.twitter.com/AFiGhbXVGA
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) June 4, 2019
One of the protests was originally planned to be held close to Downing Street (the headquarters of the U.K. government and the official residence of the Prime Minister) during Trump’s meeting with May. But police sealed off the area to protesters, who had to re-route at the last minute.
Trump’s visit couldn’t come at a more politically tense time for the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister May is stepping down on Friday after trying for three years, and failing, to secure the Brexit deal voters passed in a 2016 referendum, puling the United Kingdom out of the European Union.
Trump supports Brexit. On Tuesday, he said May deserved “a lot of credit” for getting Brexit to where it is now, but in the past he has openly criticized her handling of the deal, saying the U.K. should “walk away” from the deal rather than allow the E.U. to dictate the terms of the deal.
When asked what his views on Brexit are, Trump — who has yet to secure a trade deal with China or close the free trade deal with Mexico and Canada — said he had predicted that “it was going to happen.”
He also said the United States “is committed to a phenomenal trade deal between the U.S. and the and the U.K.”
Trump, while meeting with May and heaping praise on her, has also been publicly talking up those who have sought her ouster — notably, Nigel Farage, founder of the Brexit Partt, and former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who wants to succeed May as prime minister.
Before the press conference, Trump called Johnson and offered to meet with him. He later said that he likes Johnson and thinks he would “do a very good job.”
This is very similar to what he said when he visited Britain in July 2018, when, again standing next to May, he had this to say about Johnson: “I think he thinks I’m doing a great job as president. I’m doing a great job, I can tell you in case you haven’t noticed, Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.”
That visit, which also was met by massive protests, was preceded by Trump criticizing May for her handling of Brexit during an interview with The Sun, a British tabloid. He later denied the report, calling it “fake news.”
The tabloid later released recordings of the interview.