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Farage and Trump are ‘true friends’

WASHINGTON, DC – Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are “true friends” and the Reform UK leader will remain influential in the presidential election even now he is running for Parliament, according to a US cable news journalist.

Farage could still play a role in July’s Republican convention, as had previously been expected by both sides, says John Gizzi, White House correspondent for Newsmax TV.

“They are true friends and do talk frequently,” says Gizzi. “But with all Trump has on his schedule, it wouldn’t surprise me if he found out about Farage’s decision the same way we all did.”

Gizzi believes a virtual appearance at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee might be possible, if an in-person appearance has to be ruled out at the event, which takes place just 11 days after the UK election.

“It may be that Nigel does a Zoom call to the Convention for brief comments from London, perhaps sitting in his office in the House of Commons,” he suggests.

The British politician – who many imagined would be a regular at Trump rallies after July – conceded on Tuesday that his ability to join the 77-year-old on the campaign trail may now be constrained. “I clearly could not spend much time in America if I was in Westminster,” Mr Farage told the BBC, adding that it “doesn’t mean I could not go at all, but certainly it would be a change of priorities”.

Mr Farage’s decision does not appear to be connected to last week’s guilty verdicts in Trump’s criminal trial, with the 60-year-old having said he supports the presumptive Republican nominee “more than ever”.

When the two men first encountered one another, on the fringes of 2016’s Republican convention, Farage was not ready publicly to adhere himself to Trump. “I can see what he’s trying to do,” he said on the convention’s sidelines, “but occasionally the style of it makes me wince a little bit.”

A month later, his qualms had evaporated. The then Ukip leader was the warm-up act for Trump at a rally in Mississippi, and endorsed him for the presidency at a moment when the Republican candidate needed all the help he could get. “Nigel did this at a time when Trump seemed a pipe-dream,” says Gizzi, telling i that Trump has never forgotten that early assistance. “But Trump also realises Nigel Farage and other foreign leaders… have their own agendas in their own lands.”

Trump once described Boris Johnson as “Trump Britain”, but in reality that moniker is more appropriate for Farage, who is in sync with him on key issues – particularly immigration and the futility of Ukraine’s efforts to beat Russia.

Farage has been open about his admiration for America and desire to one day live there, proclaiming that he is “freer” and able to walk the streets without fear of attack.

A fortnight ago, the New York Times reported Mr Farage’s decision to sit the UK election out, “preferring to focus on helping former President Donald Trump recapture the White House”, citing social media posts in which he pledged to “help with the grassroots campaign in the U.S.A. in any way that I can”.

After his U-turn, Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president during the Trump administration, hailed Mr Farage as a “legend” who “has stepped back into the ring to save the UK”.

Steve Bannon – who remains a close adviser to Trump – called Mr Farage “amazing” on his far-right War Room webcast on Tuesday, calling the crowds in Clacton “extraordinary”.

While the new leader of Reform UK, previously the Brexit Party, is reasonably well known among grassroots Trump supporters thanks to regular appearances on Fox News and Newsmax, it would be easy to overplay his importance to Trump’s re-election efforts.

He has spoken regularly at Cpac (the Trump-dominated Conservative Political Action Conference), made appearances at Trump rallies, and had planned to take his eponymous GB News programme on the road in America as the 2024 presidential election advanced. But it is not clear he enjoys sufficient standing in the US to influence floating voters.

The biggest impact of Mr Farage’s campaign may be financial. If elected, he will be required to provide a degree of transparency over his affairs in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. His need to attend the House of Commons and deal with constituency matters may also limit the time he has to assist GB News in its efforts to reach American audiences and grab a financial lifeline.

“Whatever happens to him, his influence will continue to stretch across the pond,” says Gizzi.

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