President Trump said that if British Prime Minister Theresa May had only listened to him, Brexit would be smooth sailing instead of a mess that was again kicked down the road Thursday by Parliament.
“I will tell you, I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it,” the president said at the White House during an event with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
“And I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that, and it’s fine. I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart right now.”
Hours after Trump spoke, Parliament voted 412-202 to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union until at least June 30.
It is currently scheduled for March 29, with or without a deal.
The European Commission said the bloc would consider any request, “taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension.”
Any delay in the process would require the approval of all 27 remaining EU member states.
The EU is reluctant to postpone Brexit beyond late May elections for the European Parliament, because that would mean Britain taking part even as it prepares to leave.
British businesses expressed relief at the prospect of a delay.
Many worry a no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval, with customs checks causing gridlock at UK ports, new tariffs triggering price increases and red tape for everyone from truckers to tourists.
Things could have gone worse Thursday for May.
Lawmakers narrowly rejected an attempt to strip her of control over the Brexit agenda.
By a vote of 314 to 312, they defeated an opposition attempt to let Parliament choose an alternative to May’s rejected divorce deal and force the government to negotiate it with the EU.
Lawmakers also voted by a decisive 334-85 margin against holding a second Brexit referendum — at least for now.
Despite the rebuffs and the political chaos that have weakened her authority, May has signaled she will try a third time to get backing for her agreement next week.
Britons voted by 52 percent to 48 percent in a 2016 referendum to leave the EU.
Asked his view of the Brexit mess, Varadkar expressed regret:
“The UK was a really important part of the European Union. They are gone now, and that’s their decision.”