The president was a key supporter of Brexit and was keen to better understand the origins of the referendum. “What about Brexit? Did Cameron make a mistake? ”He asked Ms May according to the notes.
“Look, this is Conservative party politics,” he urged Nick Timothy, the head of his coalition staff who was there, to explain how Mr Cameron felt compelled to vote because the Tories were divided on the issue.
“Why is Boris Johnson not the Prime Minister? Shouldn’t he be employed?” Mr Trump was quoted as saying that he was investigating the political career of the man who led the leave campaign and would eventually play a role in overthrowing Ms May.
When Ms May explained how the Tory leadership game played out – seeing Mr Johnson step down after losing the support of Michael Gove – Mr Trump was quoted as saying: “Oh, so you were drafted like baseball. But I really think you conspired to do all this. “
There came a debate about how immigration affected the Brexit vote. Ms May said it was a factor but “part of a larger issue of boundaries and sovereignty”.
Again, the US president picked up a theme and ran with it. According to the notes, “we are going to be tough on immigration,” Mr Trump said. “Europeans have opened their doors to the wicked. We will not have Paris.”
That line would refer to past terrorist attacks in the French capital. “Crime is on the rise in Germany. Women are being raped everywhere,” Mr Trump continued, quoting German President Angela Merkel for criticizing her. “Merkel lost her next election.” Ms May did not accept this.
“No, I don’t think she will. He is now Europe’s best politician, ”the British leader was quoted as saying. Later that year Mrs. May proved to be right. Ms Merkel was re-elected.
Northern Ireland ‘hate’
At one point during lunch Mr. Trump wanted to learn about Northern Ireland. How it would function after Brexit gave it its position within the UK, but sharing a land border with Ireland, a member of the European Union, was an important issue in the negotiations.
“What about Northern Ireland?” Mr. Trump asked according to the notes. “It simply came to our notice then. I do not understand where it is coming from.
He had a long quarrel with the former Scottish First Minister over the construction of wind farms near one of his golf Scottish courses. As lunch came to an end, the conversation turned to relations with Russia, an issue that had plagued Mr Trump’s early presidency, prompting the FBI to investigate the Kremlin’s involvement in the election he won.
Mr Trump asked his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, why he had not been notified of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call – which was briefly mentioned in the notes, but others present called it a heated exchange.
Ms May, who was critical of the Russian leader, later issued a warning to the US president. “You have to communicate with Putin, but beware,” he said. “He only values strength. You have to be tough. Mr Trump dismissed his concerns with a different view of the future.
“I need to talk to this person,” the president said. “He has a thousand nuances. This is not Congo. ”
The Telegraph read notes to two people who were in the room for lunch confirming their accuracy. A third person did not attend, but someone familiar with the US record of the meeting said similarly.
Scribble poisoning clash
One of the most testing moments in the UK-US relationship under Mr Trump came after former Russian spy Sergei Skribal and his daughter Yulia, who fled the UK, drank poison with a neuroscientist in Salisbury.
Ms. May publicly accused the Russian government of being behind the attack and spent most of March 2018, the month of the attack, mobilizing Western allies to collectively expel Russian spies in retaliation. This was a major test for the new England-US relationship.