On the final day of his three-day official state visit, U.S. President Donald Trump gave his only interview with British reporter and Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan.
The president had told the Sun newspaper that he “didn’t know she was nasty” when a reporter informed him that Markle said she would move to Canada if Trump won the 2016 U.S. election.
Now, Trump is claiming his words were taken out of context.
“The question was asked to me, and I didn’t know that she said anything bad about me, it sounds like she did, and that’s OK — I mean, hey, join the crowd, right?” Trump said to Morgan.
“They said some of the things that she said, and it’s actually on tape, and I said: ‘Well, I didn’t know she was nasty.'”
Trump goes on to say that he doesn’t have any negative feelings towards the Duchess, who just gave birth to her first child at the beginning of the month.
“I wasn’t referring to she’s nasty — I said she was nasty about me and, essentially, I didn’t know she was nasty about me,” Trump said.
“So I said, you know what, she’s doing a good job. I hope she enjoys her life.”
Despite this, Trump maintains that the Duchess’ comments were mean-spirited.
“I think she’s very nice. Honestly, I don’t know her,” he told Morgan.
“I have to be honest. I don’t know her, but it just shows you how terrible the news can be because if you read that — I’m sure you did, that was talking about nasty — she was nasty about me.”
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Prior to joining the Royal Family, Markle was extremely vocal about her feelings towards Trump.
In an interview on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, she called Trump “misogynistic.” She also said she planned to vote for his adversary, Hillary Clinton.
During his state visit, Trump met with both Prime Minister Theresa May and the Royal Family — including Prince Harry, Markle’s husband.
The Duchess of Sussex was not in attendance as she is on maternity leave from royal duties.
When asked if he and the Duke of Sussex discussed his comments about Markle, Trump said: “We didn’t talk about it.”
“I congratulated him and I think he’s a terrific guy,” Trump told Morgan. “The Royal Family is really nice.”
Trump also took the time to dispel rumours about negative energy between him and Prince Harry.
“He spent a lot of time talking to Ivanka and talking to my family,” Trump said of the visit. “I went up — he couldn’t have been nicer. Couldn’t have been nicer.”
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During the 30-minute interview with Morgan, Trump also discussed trade with the U.K. and his decision to ban transgender people from the military.
When asked whether the National Health Service (NHS) — Britain’s public health service — was on the table in future post-Brexit trade talks between the U.S. and the U.K., Trump said: “I don’t see it being on the table.”
The president continued: “I say everything is up for negotiation because everything is, but I don’t see that as being… something that I would not consider part of the trade. That’s not trade.”
On his decision to ban transgender people from the military, Trump said: “You have to have a standard and you have to stick by that standard.”
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Trump’s visit prompted anti-Trump protests across the U.K, and anti-Trump banners were hung in parts of London ahead of his arrival.
At Buckingham Palace, activists were waiting with signs and chanting for Trump to “go home.” Posters had messages including “dump Trump” and “no to racism, no to Trump.”
When Trump came to the U.K. in 2018, he was also met by demonstrators as thousands protested his visit across London.
Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon that his visit so far “is going really well” and said the Royal Family has been “fantastic.” He denied seeing any protesters.
—With files from Laura Hensley