Boris Johnson would make “a great prime minister” because “he’s got what it takes”, Donald Trump has said just days after the former foreign secretary quit Theresa May’s Cabinet.
The US President said he was “very saddened” to see Mr Johnson leave the Government because he is “a very talented guy” for whom “I have a lot of respect”.
However Mr Johnson’s successor as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was doing “a terrible job” and was failing the capital over terrorism and crime, he said.
He also controversially said immigration had “changed the fabric of Europe”.
And he admitted that he “feels unwelcome” in London because of mass protests organised to disrupt his visit.
Mr Trump was interviewed by The Sun newspaper, part of the media empire of his friend Rupert Murdoch, at the US Embassy in Brussels during this week’s Nato summit, and was gushing in his praise for Mr Johnson.
He said: “I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me. I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country.”
Earlier this week he said it was up to the British people whether Theresa May stayed as Prime Minister, but he said: “I am not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister. I think he’s got what it takes. I like him a lot.”
He said Mrs May - with whom he once again held hands as they walked up the steps to Blenheim Palace on Thursday night - is “a very good person”.
Asked about a report in The Washington Post that he thinks of Mrs May as “a bossy schoolteacher”, Mr Trump said: “No, no, no, no. I never said anything bad about her.
“That is fake news. I think she is a nice person. I get along with her very nicely.”
He is also a huge fan of the Queen, whom he will meet on Friday, saying: “She is a tremendous woman. I really look forward to meeting her. I think she represents her country so well.
“If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman.
“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her.”
He said his Scottish-born mother Mary “loved the Queen. Any time the Queen was on television, my mother wanted to watch it.”
Up to 200,000 people are expected to join protests against Mr Trump in London on Friday, with a “Trump baby” blimp flying overhead.
He said: “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London.
“I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?
“And when I say that I am talking about government because the people of the UK agree with me.”
He singled out Mr Khan for criticism, continuing an ongoing feud with the Labour politician.
He said: “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.
“I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.
“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.
“I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”
He said the situation upsets him personally as the product of two EU countries.
Mr Trump said: “I have great love for countries in Europe.
“Don’t forget, essentially I’m a product of the European Union, between Scotland and Germany.
“Right? My father Germany, my mother Scotland.”
In his most controversial comments, he said: “I think what has happened to Europe is a shame.
“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.
“I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.
“So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.
“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.”