President Donald Trump dined on Feb. 25 at the new Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., with an unexpected guest: Brexit leader Nigel Farage.
Trump extended the invitation to Farage at the last minute after the pair ran into each other in the hotel lobby, according to a report from the Independent Journal Review. It was a private event that received no prior publicity. The president even reportedly barred pool journalist Jordan Fabian of The Hill, who was assigned to cover him at the time, from entering the hotel with him.
IJR reporter Benny Johnson, who was already at the restaurant, spotted the president dining with Farage, Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, and several of Trump’s advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, who attended along with Ivanka Trump.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife were also present but dined separately. Johnson said in his report that he believed he saw the president’s other daughter, Tiffany Trump, in attendance, as well, with a birthday party.
Farage posted a photo of the event to Twitter along with the caption, “Dinner with The Donald.”
Trump ordered a well-done steak and spoke jovially with his dinner party before picking up the tab, taking a few photos with customers and slipping one of his busboys a $100 bill, according to the IJR report.
Later in the evening, Farage said that it was “really quite wonderful” to visit the U.S. and have the president invite him to dinner.
“But as I’ve gotten to know Donald, it really just does not surprise me,” the British politician told Johnson. “You know what amazes me about your President? He is a regular bloke. Truly. Just a normal chap. Upstairs at dinner, he spoke to the table like any regular guy out to dine with friends and family. There is no pretension at all.”
Farage, who campaigned for Trump, said earlier in the day on Fox’s Business Network that Trump is correct to speak out against the media, whom he said is “losing this battle big time,” according to the BBC.
“They are simply not prepared to accept that Brexit happened, that Trump happened,” he added. “They kind of want to turn the clock back and what they don’t realize is they are losing viewers, they are losing listeners, they are losing this battle big time.”
Sources: IJR, BBC / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Nigel Farage/Twitter