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Trump says the UK is in turmoil and Putin summit might be the easiest part of his European trip

Key Points
  • Trump will face fellow leaders on Wednesday and Thursday at the NATO summit in Brussels.
  • He will then travel to England to meet Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth II and business leaders.
  • Then the president visits President Putin, who Trump has said may be the easiest part of the trip.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media alongside First Lady Melania Trump as they walk to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, July 10, 2018, as they travel on a week-long trip to Europe, with stops in Brussels, London, Scotland and Helsinki. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has claimed the U.K. is in “turmoil” and his visit there this week could be more complicated than a follow-up meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has set off on a trip to Europe that will see him meet with NATO allies in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday and Thursday before he spends three days in the United Kingdom. He will then complete his round of diplomacy at a summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Tuesday as he prepared to board the Marine One helicopter, Trump said his travels could be interesting.

“The U.K.’s situation has been going on for a long time so I have NATO, I have the U.K. that is in some sort of turmoil, and I have Putin,” he said. “Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think that?”

Trump’s visit to the U.K. became more complicated after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned Monday, adding to divisions over Brexit that threaten to tear apart Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

Johnson left his role claiming that the “Brexit dream was dying” after May proposed a plan to leave the European Union but retain some alignment for trade, law and migration. His resignation came less than 24 hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis quit too.

The departures have led to speculation that a leadership challenge is in the offing and May could soon be removed as prime minister.

Prior to boarding the helicopter, Trump said he had not spoken to May and could not predict her future.

"That's up to the people. I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship."

He then appeared to show somewhat warmer support for the departed Johnson.

“Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very nice to me, very supportive. I like Boris Johnson, and maybe we will get a chance to talk to him when we get over there,” Trump added.