Donald Trump has thrown his support behind Boris Johnson, claiming that the favourite for the Tory leadership would do a ‘very good job’.
Mr Trump looks set to meet with the former foreign secretary during his state visit to the UK, after previously describing him as a ‘friend’.
The meeting between the US President and the former Foreign Secretary is being organised by high-ranking White House officials, according to reports.
In an interview, he said that Mr Johnson, a hard Brexiteer, would be an ‘excellent choice’ as leader before adding that he had studied the Tory leadership race ‘very hard’.
The latest comments come after an impromptu press call in Washington yesterday, where Mr Trump paid a glowing tribute to Mr Johnson, describing him as a ‘big power’.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn yesterday, Donald Trump said he ‘may’ hold talks with Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage during his three-day trip to the UK
His team are believed to have told British officials that the president wants to schedule in some ‘executive time’, particularly during his stay at Winfield House in London on Tuesday, which is the US ambassador’s residence.
Any meeting with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage or other Tory leadership hopefuls is expected to take place then.
Some British officials are said to be worried at any controversies Mr Trump may cause during his visit, though Downing Street has is believed to be relaxed.
A Downing Street source told the Times: ‘Who the president meets during his visit is a matter for him.’
Mr Trump also told the Sun: ”I actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players.
‘But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent. I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.
‘He has been very positive about me and our country.’
The US president heaped praise on Mr Johnson, and it looks as if he will meet with the Foreign Secretary
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is widely seen as the favourite in the Tory leadership race
The president also claimed that several Tory leadership candidates have asked for his endorsement, although he said that Michael Gove was not one of them.
Mr Trump also revealed that he ‘likes’ foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mick Mulaney, acting Chief of Staff at the White House, is thought to have requested the meeting during the planning stage of the state visit.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn yesterday, Mr Trump said he ‘may’ hold talks with Mr Johnson or Mr Farage during his three-day trip.
What is happening during Trump’s state visit to the UK?
Monday, June 3
The Queen, joined by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, officially welcome The President and Mrs Trump at Buckingham Palace. Royal Gun Salutes fired in Green Park and at the Tower of London.
Private lunch at Buckingham Palace for the President and First Lady, hosted by Queen with Duke of Sussex
Tour of Westminster Abbey, where President will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Afternoon tea with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House.
Full state banquet at Buckingham Palace
Tuesday, June 4
Business breakfast meeting at St James’s Palace with Theresa May and Duke of York.
Talks at No10 Downing Street followed by lunch with Mrs May, and a joint press conference.
President and Mrs Trump host a return dinner at Winfield House, official residence of the US Ambassador.
Wednesday, June 5
National Commemorative Event for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth, alongside over 300 D-Day veterans.
‘Nigel Farage is a friend of mine. Boris is a friend of mine,’ Mr Trump said.
‘They are two very good guys, very interesting people.
‘Nigel has had a big victory, he has picked up 32 per cent of the vote starting from nothing (in EU elections).
‘I think they are big powers over there, I think they have done a good job.’
The US president is set to touch down in London on Monday.
Royal gun salutes will fire at the Tower of London and in Green Park to honour the US President and First Lady Melania Trump.
The Queen, 93, is hosting no fewer than four official events in tribute to Mr Trump, and Prince Charles and the Duke of York will be heavily involved too.
The President will also have lunch with Mrs May at Downing Street in one of her final ceremonial duties as Prime Minister.
Mr Trump is bringing four of his five children with him, including son Barron, 12, and his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
Any meeting with Mr Johnson that does take place will have to be held away from the official itinerary.
Mr Johnson is the front runner to take Prime Minister Theresa May’s job this summer after she finally resigned admitting she had failed to deliver Brexit.
But the contest is becoming increasingly chaotic after former chief whip Mark Harper became the twelfth candidate to throw his hat into the ring.
There is also the possibility that Mr Trump will meet with Nigel Farage during his visit.
He praised the Brexit Party leader during the same press call where he shared his admiration for Mr Johnson.
Mr Farage told MailOnline he would be ‘perfectly happy’ to meet Mr Trump, but no plans were yet in place.
‘We will have to see,’ he said. ‘I would be perfectly happy to, of course I would.
‘I last saw him a couple of months ago on the other side (of the Atlantic).’
He may also meet with Nigel Farage who was famously the first senior UK politician to meet Mr Trump after he was elected as president – posing together by the golden elevator in his New York penthouse