Trump steps on minefields in UK interview, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump steps on minefields in UK interview

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US President talks about transgender people in the military, climate change and Meghan Markle

LONDON : On a state visit to Britain, US President Donald Trump touched on nearly every person or topic of importance.

In an interview with broacaster ITV, he said he decided to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military because they take "massive amounts of drugs".

Mr Trump said in a wide-ranging interview that the military had strict rules regulating the use of prescription drugs.

"They take massive amounts of drugs, they have to, and you are not allowed to take drugs, you are in the military, you are not allowed to take any drugs," Mr Trump said.

The Pentagon says the restrictions are not a blanket ban. But they do bar an overwhelming majority of people who identify as transgender from enlisting.

The policies could also impact currently serving personnel.

"We have a great military and I want to keep it that way," Mr Trump told ITV.

He also said the he would like to have talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but did not rule out military action.

"I'd rather not, but there is always a chance," Mr Trump said when asked about the prospect of conflict.

"I'd much rather talk."

He also said he had a long discussion about climate change with heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, although Mr Trump suggested he did not believe the Earth is getting hotter.

He said: "He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate as opposed to a disaster - and I agree. I did mention a couple of things: I did say, well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all the statistics, and it's even getting better.

"I agree with that: I want the best water, the cleanest water, crystal clean," he said.

When asked if he believed in climate change, Mr Trump said: "I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways. Don't forget it used to be called global warming, that wasn't working, then it was called climate change and now it is actually called extreme weather - because with extreme weather you can't miss."

He also backtracked on his comments describing Prince Harry's wife, former Hollywood actress Meghan Markle, as a nasty person, claiming media had distorted his words as he actually felt she was very nice.

She criticised Mr Trump during his 2016 election campaign as misogynistic and divisive.

Mr Trump clarified the comments saying that he had been referring specifically to Ms Meghan being nasty to him and that he thought she was very nice.

"I said: 'well I didn't know she was nasty' - I wasn't referring to she's nasty, I said 'she was nasty about me'," he told ITV.

"And essentially, I didn't know she was nasty about me. So I said 'but you know what: she's doing a good job - I hope she enjoys her life'.

"I think she is very nice. Honestly I don't know her. So I have to be honest - I don't know her," Mr Trump added. "She was nasty to me. And that's okay for her to be nasty. It's not good for me to be nasty to her and I wasn't." - REUTERS, AFP