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Trump appears to question May's Brexit plan on eve of visit
[BRUSSELS] US President Donald Trump said Thursday he was not sure Britons voted for the Brexit plan presented by Prime Minister Theresa May, which triggered a British Cabinet rebellion.
Mr Trump also shrugged off mass protests planned in Britain against his visit starting later Thursday and called the country "a pretty hot spot" over the Cabinet resignations.
"The people voted to break it up (Britain's ties with the EU)," Mr Trump told a press conference following a heated summit with NATO leaders.
"So I would imagine that's what they will do, but maybe they will take a little bit of a different route. I don't know (if) that is what they voted for."
Mrs May published later Thursday a long-awaited Brexit blueprint to restart talks with the EU, after facing down a revolt by eurosceptic ministers that could still unseat her.
At the Nato summit, Mrs May told reporters her plan "was delivering on the vote of the British people."
The plan, published Thursday, foresees an overall "association agreement" with the EU encompassing different deals on different areas.
Britain and the EU would maintain a "common rulebook" for goods to ensure smooth trade including in agricultural, food and fisheries products.
In eliminating tariffs, quotas and rules of origin requirements, it would protect supply chains that criss-cross the EU and just-in-time processes vital to, for example, the automotive industry.
It would also avoid border checks between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
The plan has caused outrage among eurosceptic members of Mrs May's Conservative Party, and foreign minister Boris Johnson joined Brexit minister David Davis in dramatically quitting this week in protest.
Mr Trump put the spotlight on Mrs May's own political problems as he dismissed the planned protests against him.
"They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration," he said.
"I think that's why Brexit happened," he said, noting that Britain was "a pretty hot spot right now with a lot of resignations".