“He’s very much a big fan of Boris Johnson, and the President won’t think he’s harming anyone else by telling everyone what he thinks.
“He wants to help Boris Johnson, not hurt him. But he doesn’t really completely understand why this [publicly backing Johnson] is a concern.”
As to the protocol of not giving an opinion on allies’ elections, Trump was said to “not think he’s breaking any rules” by doing so.
Johnson diplomatically said this week that “allies and friends” should not “get involved in each other’s election campaigns”.
Senior Conservatives are said to be nervous that fulsome praise from Trump could backfire. According to YouGov only 18 per cent of Britons have a positive opinion of the US President, with 67 per cent holding a negative one.
In late October Trump publicly waded into UK politics, saying Corbyn would be “so bad” for the UK, and advising Johnson to agree a pact with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
Asked if the President would intervene similarly again, a senior White House official said: “No. He [the President] is well aware of this. He likes Boris Johnson personally, but he’s absolutely cognisant of not wading into other country’s elections.”
An effort to keep Johnson and Trump at arm’s length ahead of the election means there is no scheduled one-on-one meeting at the summit, celebrating 70 years of Nato.
Trump does have bilateral meetings planned with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, and probably the leaders of Italy and Denmark. He will have a “working lunch” with Johnson and other leaders.
A US official did not rule out a bilateral meeting, or joint press conference with Johnson. “That’s something we’re still working on,” the official said.
At the summit Trump is expected to prioritise demands for further increased defence spending by allies. He will tell them not to get involved with Huwaei, the Chinese technology giant, and say Nato should focus on increasing threats in cyberspace, and space.
Trump will also host a private event for American expats in London, which is expected to raise $US3 million ($4.4 million) for his 2020 re-election campaign. Donors will pay up to $125,000 to join Trump at a table and have a photograph taken with him.
The Telegraph, London