LONDON (Reuters) - Donald Trump said he was unlikely to have a good relationship with David Cameron because the British prime minister cast the U.S. presidential candidate as “divisive, stupid and wrong” for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Cameron criticised Trump in the British parliament over his call for the ban on Muslims and suggested that the New York billionaire, who is now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, would unite Britain against him if he visited.
“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows?” Trump told Britain’s ITV television station in an interview aired on Monday when asked how ties would fare if he won the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.
“Well number one, I‘m not stupid, okay. I can tell you that right now. Just the opposite. Number Two, in terms of divisive: I don’t think I‘m a divisive person. I‘m a unifier, unlike our president right now,” Trump said, referring to Barack Obama.
Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister stood by his original comments.
The United States is Britain’s closest ally. U.S. companies are the biggest foreign direct investors in Britain and the so- called ‘special relationship’ with Washington has been the cornerstone of British diplomacy since World War Two.
Trump’s often controversial comments on everything from Muslims and women to the future of NATO and relations with Russia have drawn criticism from Berlin, Paris and other European capitals.
But neither Germany’s Angela Merkel nor France’s Francois Hollande have gone as far as Cameron in chiding Trump who, if he wins in November, would be in charge of the world’s most powerful nation and largest economy from January 20 next year.
“DIVISIVE, STUPID AND WRONG”
Cameron will work with whoever is elected U.S. president and is committed to maintaining the special relationship, the prime minister’s spokesman said.
“The PM has made his views on Donald Trump’s comments very clear. He disagrees with them,” the spokesman said. “He continues to believe that preventing Muslims from entering the U.S. is divisive, stupid and wrong. He stands by his comments.”
The spokesman refused to answer questions on who Cameron would like to see win in November but said there was no telephone call or meeting planned with Trump, adding: “If one is proposed we will consider it.”
On a more conciliatory note, Cameron has said Trump deserves respect for making it through the gruelling Republican primary process. The Times newspaper also reported last month Cameron had ordered diplomats to attempt to repair relations with Trump.
“I hope to have a good relationship with him but it sounds like he’s not willing to address the problem either,” Trump told ITV.
Trump also criticised London’s newly elected Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan for making “very rude statements”.
Trump had initially welcomed Khan’s election and said he would make an exception in the event of a ban on Muslims for him entering the United States, drawing a sharp reply from Khan.
“Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe - it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists,” Khan said.
Responding to this criticism in the ITV interview, Trump said: “He doesn’t know me, never met me, doesn’t know what I am all about. I think they are very rude statements. Frankly, tell him I will remember those statements. They are very nasty statements. It is ignorant for him to say that.”
Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Michael Holden and Gareth Jones