British journalist who interviewed Trump says it was 'like being in the court of an imperial Chinese emperor'

Trump with first lady Melania Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May
(Image credit: Geoff Pugh/AFP/Getty Images)

When Tom Newton Dunn, political editor for British tabloid The Sun, interviewed President Trump in Brussels on Wednesday, "his mood was nervous, I think, his arms were crossed a lot," he told BBC Radio 4's Today on Friday. The Trump interview, which The New York Times characterized as "a remarkable breach of protocol, publicly undercutting Prime Minister Theresa May," was published just as guests were leaving the black-tie dinner May threw for Trump Thursday night. In it, Trump criticized May's newly published Brexit plan, said it endangered a U.S.-Britain free trade deal May has been promising, and said May's political rival Boris Johnson "would be a great prime minister," among other comments damaging to May.

Newton Dunn said that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to end the explosive interview after the allotted 10 minutes, but Trump "swatted her away" and "kept on talking." It was an "amazing experience" interviewing Trump, because "nobody tells him what to say or nobody tells him off once he's said it, and he'll say it for as long as he wants," he told BBC Breakfast. "I felt it was like being in the court of an imperial Chinese emperor from the 15th century." Talking to him one-on-one, "I mean, he certainly isn't Barack Obama," Newton Dunn added. "He perhaps doesn't quite have the poise that Barack Obama had, you know, as a wise and great leader of men. But, you know, he gave us one hell of an interview, and I think there's a lot to be said for answering an honest question honestly."

Trump "knows an awful lot about Britain," cares what Britons think about him, and is "a true Brexiteer," Newton Dunn told the BBC. "He's really quite stung by the criticism he's been getting, the treatment he was going to get when he arrived. ... He knew all about the baby blimp. I think it hurt him."

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