With Trump meeting, Farage upsets UK establishment

NEW YORK - After helping secure the shock vote for Brexit, UKIP leader Nigel Farage pulled off another coup by becoming the first British politician to meet Donald Trump, upsetting the establishment once again.

Long dismissed as a political outsider who had failed repeatedly to win a seat in the House of Commons, Farage stunned Britain and the world when he helped deliver the June vote to leave the European Union.

Five months later, Trump's victory has again propelled the UK Independence Party (UKIP) interim leader into the limelight.

Farage had campaigned for Trump, believing the Republican billionaire - who many thought could never win - had tapped into similar anger over globalisation and ruling elites as the anti-EU campaign in Britain.

When Trump won last week, Farage returned to the United States and on Saturday met the future leader of the free world at his headquarters in New York.

A photo of the two men - Farage grinning broadly and Trump giving a thumbs up - was widely published in Britain, with one headline reading: "The victory of the outsiders." Farage has now offered to act as a conduit between the incoming US administration and British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government, suggesting that fences needed mending between the two sides.

But May's spokeswoman noted the premier had been invited to Washington during a phone call with Trump last week and pointedly said that there was no need for a "third person" in their relationship.

Conservative former foreign minister Malcolm Rifkind meanwhile said Farage's visit was about "celebrity politics" while Labour former foreign minister Margaret Beckett said: "It was not a diplomatic trip, it was an ego trip." .

But some ministers are reportedly in favour of Farage's offer if it helps Britain build strong trade ties after Brexit, amid some unease about future relations with a US president who challenges the established liberal order.

"We live in very unconventional times politically at the moment and we need to think out of the box," former Conservative defence minister Gerald Howarth told BBC radio, saying it was "worth talking to" Farage.

Professor Rob Ford, an expert in the radical right at Britain's University of Manchester, said Farage could well be a useful conduit into a Trump White House.

Obama and Trump meet in the White House

  • Barack Obama and Donald Trump on Thursday put past animosity aside during a 90-minute White House meeting designed to quell fears about the health of the world's pre-eminent democracy.
  • White House staffers stand on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as they await the arrival of US President-elect Donald Trump for a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, November 10, 2016.
  • "Mr President, it was a great honour being with you," Trump said, calling Obama a "very good man." .
  • As protests against the Republican property mogul's shock election rumbled across US cities and world capitals contended with a suddenly uncertain world order, Obama and Trump vowed to carry out a smooth transition of power.
  • After a nasty campaign that culminated in the election of a 70-year-old billionaire who has never held public office and who gained power on a far-right platform, the message was: this is business as usual in a democracy.
  • "It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face," Obama said.
  • Trump appeared more subdued than usual, and was unusually cautious and deferential in his remarks.
  • The outgoing Democratic president and his successor huddled one-on-one in the Oval Office, for what Obama characterized as an "excellent conversation" and then put on a remarkably civil joint public appearance.
  • After all, Trump championed the so-called "birther movement" challenging that Obama was actually born in the United States - a suggestion laden with deep racial overtones - only dropping the position recently.
  • "Here's a good rule. Don't answer questions when they just start yelling," Obama told Trump.
  • Trump - who previously called Obama the "most ignorant president in our history" - said he looked forward to receiving the president's counsel. Obama - who previously said Trump was a whiner and "uniquely unqualified" to be commander-in-chief - vowed his support.
  • The two men ended the improbable and historic White House encounter with a handshake and refused to take questions, appearing to find common cause in their opinion of the press.
  • He (Obama) told Trump that his administration would "do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed, then the country succeeds."

"There's a clear personal connection there, and Trump seems to be the kind of guy who values those kind of relationships," he told AFP.

However, Ford doubted if the offer of helping the government was serious.

"That was classic Farage. It enables him to show off his friendship and wind up the kind of people in the Conservative party who annoy him," he said.

Relations between UKIP and May's Conservatives have always been frosty, particularly as UKIP began wooing Tory voters.

Farage was excluded from the official Brexit campaign, but he steered the debate towards immigration, a winning strategy, despite accusations of racism.

Although he was educated privately and once worked as a commodities trader, Farage has carefully cultivated an image as an ordinary "everyman", honed over hours spent in the pub.

Thousands of anti-Trump protests take to streets in US

  • Demonstrators marched in cities across the United States on Wednesday to protest against Republican Donald Trump's surprise presidential election win, blasting his controversial campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims and other groups.
  • In New York, thousands of protesters filled streets in midtown Manhattan as they made their way to Trump Tower, Trump's gilded home on Fifth Avenue.
  • Hundreds of others gathered at a Manhattan park and shouted "Not my president".
  • A demonstration of about 6,000 people blocked traffic in Oakland, California, police said.
  • Protesters threw objects at police in riot gear, burned trash in the middle of an intersection, set off fireworks and smashed store front windows.
  • Police responded by throwing chemical irritants at the protesters, according to a Reuters witness.
  • In downtown Chicago, an estimated 1,800 people gathered outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower, chanting phrases like "No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA."
  • Chicago police closed roads in the area, impeding the demonstrators' path.
  • There were no immediate reports of arrests or violence there.
  • "I'm just really terrified about what is happening in this country," said 22-year-old Adriana Rizzo in Chicago, who was holding a sign that read: "Enjoy your rights while you can."
  • In Seattle, police responded to a shooting with multiple victims near the scene of anti-Trump protests. Police said it was unrelated to the demonstrations.
  • Protesters railed against Trump's campaign pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep immigrants from entering the United States illegally.
  • Hundreds also gathered in Philadelphia, Boston and Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday evening, and organisers planned rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
  • A representative of the Trump campaign did not respond immediately to requests for comment on the protests.
  • Demonstrators face off with police as they take over the Hollywood 101 Freeway in in Los Angeles.
  • Antoinette Gaggero holds a Trump figurine making a Hitler salute that she found during an anti-Trump protest in Oakland, California.
  • Demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • Police arrest a demonstrator in Oakland.
  • An officer examines a vandalized police vehicle as demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • A man tries to remove graffiti as demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • Patrons hold a sign as people march by in downtown Los Angeles.
  • A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest in San Francisco.
  • Patrons cheer as people march by in downtown Los Angeles.
  • A Donald Trump pinata is burned by people protesting the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States in downtown Los Angeles.
  • People march in downtown Los Angeles.
  • People protest outside Trump Tower in Manhattan.
  • Demonstrators protest outside the Chicago Theatre.
  • Demonstrators walk through Downtown San Diego.
  • A man gestures as he rides a hoverboard near a group of police officers on motorcycles during a demonstration in San Francisco.
  • People climb a pole outside Trump Tower during protests in Manhattan.

He promoted the idea that a vote for Brexit was a vote against the established order - a message he took to Mississippi when he stumped for Trump in August.

By then, Farage had quit the leadership of UKIP, the party he co-founded in 1993 and for which he has been a member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 1999.

He said he wanted his life back, sparking a BBC television mockumentary that imagined him as a racist pub bore who spends his days watching and trying to appear on television.

Farage was forced to return as interim leader after UKIP descended into in-fighting, but the joke is no longer on him.

His ties with the incoming US administration are opening new doors, noted Ford, adding: "Apart from Donald Trump, it's hard to think of someone who has had a better year."

How 7 US newspapers presented Trump's victory

  • Washington DC's most-read newspaper goes for some simple alliteration in the headline "Trump triumphs", with a picture of Mr Trump giving his victory speech alongside his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence.
  • The newspaper, published in St Petersburg, Florida, highlights the role of Florida in securing Mr Trump the presidency with its 25 electoral votes. It also identifies his "anti-politician crusade" as important in winning the swing states.
  • The most widely circulated newspaper in the US opted for just "President Trump" as the headline, with a picture of Mr Trump clenching his fist below it.
  • The newspaper calls Trump the "outsider mogul" and state that the working class has spoken.
  • USA Today calls his victory a "stunning upset", and has a picture of him applauding.
  • The tabloid's front page on Wednesday does not focus on the winning candidate, but focuses on the White House instead - dubbing it the "House of Horrors". A picture of the White House under some stormy clouds adorns the cover of the New York City-based newspaper.
  • The New York newspaper has a smiling and waving Mr Trump on the cover, with the words "President Trump" filling the bottom half of the page. The paper also labels the election "2016: The Upset Election" with the statement "They said it couldn't happen" next to Mr Trump's face.