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Trump state visit: US president turns down meeting with ‘negative’ Corbyn

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The US president said he had been approached by Mr Corbyn, who boycotted Monday’s banquet held in his honour.

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Earlier, Mr Corbyn said Mr Trump’s policies on immigration, human rights, trade and climate change were divisive.

Speaking at a protest rally in Westminster, the Labour leader said he was “very disappointed” by Mr Trump’s latest attack on the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whom the president called a “stone cold loser”.

But he told protesters he was prepared to have “a dialogue” with anybody about building a more peaceful, just world.

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‘I told him no’

Asked about the snub during a press conference with Theresa May, Mr Trump said he had “never spoken” to the leader of the opposition.

“He wanted to meet with me and I told him no,” he said.

“I think that he is, from where I come from, somewhat of a negative force. I think people should look to do things correctly rather than criticise.”

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Barack Obama held talks with Ed Miliband in 2011 and also met David Cameron during his first visit to the UK as president in 2009.

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In his speech, the Labour leader did not mention Mr Trump by name but did refer to “our visitors”, and said all governments had a duty to oppose racism and misogyny.

Mr Corbyn told demonstrators he wanted to have a “conversation” with the US president despite their multiple disagreements.

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NHS and trade

Mr Corbyn said he would oppose any post-Brexit trade deal with the US that allowed foreign companies “in to take over the NHS” – insisting he would defend a free health service “with every breath in his body”.

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“When you are dealing with trade, everything is on the table, so the NHS and anything else.”

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The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the issue was now likely to be a factor in the leadership race.

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‘I know Boris’

On his second day in the UK, Mr Trump spoke by phone to former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – another one of the favourites to succeed Mrs May – and is due to meet rival candidate Michael Gove later.

Asked about the leadership hopefuls, the president said: “I know Boris. I like him. I have liked him for a long time. I think he would do a very good job.”

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And to laughter from the audience, he added: “I don’t know Michael – would he do a good job Jeremy?”

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“I heard there were protests so I said ‘where are the protests?’… A lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.”

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