Robert Johnson, the New York Jets owner picked by Donald Trump to serve as his diplomatic envoy to the UK, has claimed the nation made the “right decision” in last year’s EU referendum.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said: “I trust the British people to make the right decision and I feel comfortable that you made the right decision.
“The UK should have the freedom to control movement over its borders.
“I think it can be worked out. I am pretty optimistic.”
The ambassador said that Trump supports Brexit because he likes “taking control”.
Mr Johnson is a member of the family that founded the Johnson and Johnson global healthcare firm, and has been friends with Donald Trump since the early 80s.
He added: “He doesn’t like being controlled. Nobody does.
“He likes freedom of movement and freedom of decision-making”.
He went on to claim it was in the EU’s “best interest” to strike the right deal.
Mr Johnson said: “The UK is a great customer of Europe.
“It is one of the best customers, and you need to treat your customer right. It is pretty logical once you get over all the emotions.”
Washington is said to be taking a close interest in the Brexit negotiations due to the scale of American investment in the UK.
The US has £0.74 trillion ($1 trillion) invested in Britain, with around 7,000 US companies doing business in the country.
Mr Johnson said US businesses are keen to invest in Britain despite Brexit business fears as “there is a lot of good stuff going on”.
But a new trade deal with the US will have to wait until after negotiations between David Davis and the EU’s Michel Barnier are concluded.
The ambassador said Washington is keen to see Brexit talks finish as there are so many US companies based in the UK that rely on having a good trade flow with Europe.
He added: “All those people’s jobs depend on these flows as the product is produced.
“They want to see business continue as harmoniously as possible.”
Mr Johnson claimed the President’s fondness of the “special relationship” between Britain and the US was seen in action when Theresa May became the first visitor to Trump’s White House.
But the Jets owner issued a stark warning to the UK’s defence efforts, questioning whether Britain was spending enough on international security.
He said: “You are going to have to determine your spending.
“You are spending the minimum (the two percent of GDP target required by Nato), and you have to decide whether it is enough.
“We spend twice that…