UK & US

Trump: ‘Queen is fantastic and has a lot of years left’

Donald Trump has praised the Queen and said she has "a lotta years left" as he prepares to meet Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

The US president and the first lady spent nearly 50 minutes with the Queen during afternoon tea at Windsor Castle, as part of their working visit to the UK.

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Video: Awkward moment Trump stops in front of Queen

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Trump praised the monarch, saying: "The Queen is fantastic! She's a fantastic woman; so much energy and smart and sharp.

"She was amazing! Such a wonderful lady and so beautiful! It was such an honour to finally meet her. To have a Queen like that is great."

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trump baby in edinburgh
Image: The Trump baby was taken to Edinburgh to continue the protest

Mr Trump told Piers Morgan he had wondered what his mother, who was a fan of the Queen, would have made of the scene.

He added: "She is so sharp, so wise, so beautiful. Up close, you see she's so beautiful. She's a very special person. And the way she's conducted herself for so many years.

"And she's got a lotta years left."

His slightly more subdued interview comes after a tense working visit, in which even his private golf sessions in Turnberry were overshadowed by protests.

during the U.S. President's first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. 2:21
Video: Trump waves to Turnberry protestors

Mr Trump waved to protesters who gathered outside his Scottish golf resort as they waved banners reading "no Trump" and "no racist USA".

It's understood the American reporters travelling with him were told not to expect access to the president on Saturday.

Before hitting the course, he tweeted: "I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf – my primary form of exercise!

"The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible! Tomorrow I go to Helsinki for a Monday meeting with Vladimir Putin."

President Putin and President Trump in Vietnam in November 2017
Image: President Putin and President Trump in Vietnam in November 2017

The Monday meeting is going ahead despite new charges made against 12 Russian intelligence officers, who are said to have hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 presidential election.

Mike Pompeo said he is "confident" the meeting will "put America in a better place".

Although Mr Trump has been keen to forge good relationships with Mr Putin and Russia, his state, justice and defence departments have been more critical.

The justice department's decision to charge 12 Russians brings the total to 25 in the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Trump has denied any collusion with Russia and cited Mr Putin's denials of interference with the campaign.

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Video: Backpedalling Trump tries to repair special relationship

The president has promised to ask Mr Putin about the allegations, but said he didn't expect a confession.

On Saturday, Mr Trump tweeted: "The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didn't they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?"

He later said: "These Russian individuals did their work during the Obama years. Why didn't Obama do something about it? Because he thought Crooked Hillary Clinton would win, that's why. Had nothing to do with the Trump Administration, but Fake News doesn't want to report the truth, as usual!"

Monday's meeting is Mr Trump and Mr Putin's first official summit since he took office in the US, though the pair have met at other conferences.

President Putin and President meet in Germany in July 2017
Image: President Putin and President meet in Germany in July 2017

Yuri Ushakov, Mr Putin's foreign adviser, said the summit agenda would feature talks on the Iranian presence in Syria, but that the exact agenda will be down to the two leaders.

They are to have a one-to-one meeting before continuing discussions over breakfast.

A final communique had not been drafted by Friday evening, but it's understood the talks could end without a conclusive document.

Mr Trump and Mr Putin last held face-to-face talks in November 2017 on the sidelines of an APEC summit of world leaders in Danang, Vietnam.

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In July that year, Mr Trump and President Putin had a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

When the summit was announced, Mr Trump said "getting along with Russia and with China and with everybody is a very good thing", and they would discuss the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and "many other subjects".

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