LONDON — President Trump has offered the British prime minister advice on Brexit. The president’s son said this week that she should have followed it.
Donald Trump Jr. accused “the European elites” of trying to sabotage Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, in an op-ed in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. He put some of the blame on Prime Minister Theresa May, and declared that “democracy in the U.K. is all but dead.”
“Next Friday, March 29, is supposed to be the British people’s Independence Day,” Mr. Trump wrote. “But because the elites control London from Brussels, the will of the people is likely to be ignored.”
It is unclear what expertise Mr. Trump has in British and European politics and government, or whether Britons care about what he has to say. But his views appear to align with his father’s.
During a visit to Britain last summer, President Trump told Mrs. May to “sue the E.U.,” according to her account of the meeting — advice the prime minister dismissed in favor of negotiating.
According to Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, Mr. Trump told the British leader to “overshoot the target” on her deal, be on “terms agreed within six months” and “use every arrow in your quiver even if you have to do litigation later.”
“She laughed it off,” Mr. Bannon told the British network Sky News on Monday.
After a series of defeats in Parliament, it has become clear that Mrs. May will try to postpone the March 29 date for Brexit to take effect — a move that appears to have disappointed President Trump.
“I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it, and I think you would have been successful,” he said last week in a meeting with Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar. “She didn’t listen to that, and that’s fine.”
Because she didn’t listen, the younger Mr. Trump wrote, “a process that should have taken only a few short months has become a yearslong stalemate.” Such an outcome, he added, was “exactly as the European elites were hoping.”
Plenty of Britons would dispute the claim that anyone is in control in London, where Mrs. May has been tripped up by one Brexit dispute after another. The notion that puppet masters in Brussels are pulling the strings might come as a surprise to European officials who have been exasperated by Britain’s paralysis.
[Read the latest about Britain’s political crisis.]
“Was it all a ruse?” Mr. Trump said of the government’s vows Break from the European Union. “Some pro-Brexit politicians even suggest that Mrs. May herself is trying to sabotage Brexit, by insisting that Parliament agree to a deal that essentially keeps Britain bound to the E.U. indefinitely.”
Mr. Trump described both Britain’s vote to withdraw and his father’s election as victories over establishments that have since tried to “overturn their mandates.”
“What we’re seeing now in Washington, London and Brussels is the desperate, last-gasp attempt by those previously in power to cling on to what was once theirs in the face of an overwhelming mandate for change,” he asserted.
In a referendum in June 2016, Britons voted 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent in favor of leaving the European Union. But many details of the break became clear only in the negotiations that followed, and recent polls have shown that a referendum held today might reverse that result.
Just five months later, the senior Mr. Trump won the presidency, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, 45.9 percent to 48 percent.