Donald Trump said Sunday he is “very popular” in the U.K., a country the president refused to visit in recent weeks fearful of mass protests.
In an interview in Davos with former Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan, Trump said: “I think I’m very popular in your country,” adding he has “tremendous support” from the other side of the Atlantic, including fan mail.
Trump is due to visit Britain in October, a trip that has already sparked 86,000 to sign up for an “incredible protest” via a Facebook group.
More than 1 million Britons signed a petition in In Jan. 2017 demanding the invitation for Trump’s state visit be withdrawn.
When Morgan pushed back on Trump’s claim of popularity, the president said: “I know but I believe that, I really do. I get so much fan mail from people in your country. They love my sense of security, they love what I’m saying about many different things.”
“We get tremendous support from people in the U.K.”
Asked about the likely protests, Trump said: “Well, that’s their problem – I could very nicely stay home.”
Bloomberg recently reported that Trump issued an ultimatum to British Prime Minister Theresa May last year: Ban the protests or I won’t be coming.
Several high profile politicians have voiced their opposition to Trump’s visit, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. When asked about these figures, Trump said he didn’t know them.
The interview, which drew a viewership of 3 million Sunday night, prompted criticism of Morgan for speaking too much about himself and for not pushing back on some of Trump's claims.
The interview was widely disparaged on social media for a lack of gravitas. The opening exchange was indicative:
“I’ve missed you, Mr. President,” Morgan said.
Trump responded by pronouncing the name of his “friend” wrong.
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.