Brexit will be a huge success – I have no idea why Brits are so defeatist about it, says Trump’s man in London
- Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson, 71, has been friends with Donald Trump for 35 years
- Heir to Johnson and Johnson is worth estimated £3.2bn and owns New York Jets
- Says UK’s ‘great country, history, language, legal system’ means Brexit success
Donald Trump’s ambassador to Britain Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson (pictured with his wife Suzanne Ircha) has urged the country to be upbeat about Brexit
Donald Trump’s ambassador to Britain has urged the country to be upbeat about Brexit, declaring it will be a great success.
Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson said he had been ‘startled’ by the ‘defeatist attitude’ towards leaving the EU that he has encountered since arriving in London last summer.
Setting out his positive vision for how the country will thrive without Brussels, the billionaire businessman said he wanted to tell the British people: ‘Don’t be pessimistic and have faith.’
He continued: ‘How can a country with this great a history, this great a language, this great a legal system and this great a presence not be successful?’
The 71-year-old, who is a close friend of the President, also said he was ‘super confident’ about the special relationship between Britain and the US.
‘The thing I want to get out more than anything else is an attitude that I feel I don’t see enough in this country and that is a confidence for where you are heading – light at the end of the tunnel with Brexit,’ he said.
‘The British have always been experts and great business people, great business minds, so to see this defeatist attitude towards Brexit is a bit startling to me.
The 71-year-old (pictured with Mr Trump) who is a close friend of the President, also said he was ‘super confident’ about the special relationship between Britain and the US
‘I read nothing about anybody having a positive attitude towards Brexit or towards the future. As an American I’m just not used to that.’
Mr Johnson, who was speaking in a Channel 4 programme documenting his first nine months in London, questioned why people are ‘so nervous’ about Brexit.
He said: ‘I’m super confident about the relationship between the US and the UK. I’m very confident about our future together, I’m very confident about what happens after Brexit.
‘I don’t think that is a major challenge, why are we so nervous? We don’t have the confidence in ourselves? We got the best people right here to do it. That is my take on my first months here.’
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The Johnson & Johnson heir and owner of the New York Jets American football team, who is worth an estimated £3.2billion, suggested that Britain could replicate Mr Trump’s tax cuts.
Last December, the President secured approval from the US Senate for a £1trillon tax cut for corporations, small businesses and individuals, which included reducing the rate on business profits from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.
Mr Johnson said: ‘When you look at Donald Trump and what he has done, maybe take some inspiration and do some of the things he has done. I mean he turned something round in one year, he has got 3 per cent growth.’
Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson, 71, (pictured centre with embassy aides) said he had been ‘startled’ by the ‘defeatist attitude’ towards leaving the EU that he has encountered since arriving in London last summer
The documentary shows Mr Johnson meeting Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.
The ambassador told him: ‘I had a very interesting group for breakfast yesterday, basically the whole financial community. They say the world does not really care about Brexit.
‘The only people who care about Brexit are really mostly here, a little a bit in the EU. The Chinese really don’t care about it, the American population does not know what it is.
‘If you take a look from that perspective, I think it puts, maybe, our discussions now in some kind of new perspective or different perspective.
‘We have to work together, we are going to do this, it is going to work out, we don’t know exactly how but it is going to work.’
Earlier this month, Boris Johnson suggested at a private dinner that Mr Trump would handle the Brexit negotiations better than the Prime Minister.
In a leaked recording of the gathering of Tory supporters, the Foreign Secretary said he was ‘increasingly admiring’ of the President and was ‘more and more convinced that there is method in his madness’.
The US ambassador’s intervention came as two senior ministers spoke of the need to be more upbeat about Brexit.
Housing minister Dominic Raab told the House magazine: ‘I think we should go into these negotiations with a bit of economic self-confidence.
‘The economy has held up and proved far more resilient than some of the naysayers suggested. We should go into it with political ambition.’
And, in a speech yesterday, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said it was time to ‘cheer up’.
She said: ‘As we leave the EU we need to get our mojo back.’
- Inside the American Embassy: Trump’s Man in Britain will air on Channel 4 at 10pm on Monday.
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