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Gov. Phil Bryant found a new forum Monday to express his support for President Donald Trump — an appearance on Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s London radio show.
Bryant, who campaigned extensively for Trump in other states last fall, told Farage in a 10-minute appearance that Trump had a “remarkable” first 100 days as president.
Bryant cited the appointment and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a decrease in Mexican border crossings and the president’s aggressive reaction to an Assad-led chemical attack in Syria.
“It’s just the world of bizarro, as we call it,” Bryant said of the perception of the presidency thus far. “If you read the liberal media, if you only watch MSNBC or only read The New York Times, you’d have thought he’s a total object failure.”
Farage successfully led the United Kingdom’s campaign to leave the European Union last summer, touching on UK citizens’ disdain for establishment politics there. Last August he stumped for Trump’s campaign at a Jackson rally during an impromptu trip to Mississippi.
During his radio show Monday, Farage lamented that Trump seems to be “having a pretty tough time getting his agenda through,” and that many Trump voters and commentators were “unhappy” and “nervous” about Trump’s response in Syria.
“Well, you know it’s always hard to keep everyone happy,” Bryant said. “If you’re keeping everyone happy, you’re doing something dramatically wrong.”
“As you become a president, I think he devolves to the point of seeing what happens when chemical agents were introduced and killing women and children. As most would, he wanted to react as a leader of the free world,” Bryant said.
The two did not discuss Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey or the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Farage began the interview by asking Bryant, who is on a trade mission to London this week, to describe his role as governor for British listeners who might not understand America’s governmental structure.
Bryant talked about states’ rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution, saying he has “real power” in issuing executive orders, leading the Mississippi National Guard and running several state agencies, like the Department of Health and Department of Public Safety.
“Governors can make decisions,” Bryant said. “We have cabinets just like the president would. If you would think of the president of Mississippi, that would be much of what I do every day.
“Federalism would say that governors have the executive authority to run their state, basically as independent states within this confederation of the United States of America,” Bryant said.
Bryant and Farage have developed a friendship since Farage’s visit to Mississippi. The booze-filled Mississippi trip, which Farage colleague Arron Banks chronicled in detail in a book, was organized after a pre-dawn encounter in a bar following the closing night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July 2016.
Drawing parallels between Brexit – short for “British exit” – and Trump’s appeal to Americans fed up with establishment politics in Washington, Farage won over the Mississippi crowd in a five-minute speech.
During his Mississippi trip, Bryant hosted a state dinner for Farage and his associates in the Governor’s Mansion, according to the book.
Bryant even showed the delegation his man cave, “full of motorbikes, old Chevy cars, comfy chairs, a full bar and the best tobacco the South could offer. It was in the man cave where Bryant first proposed that Farage speak at the rally.
Ultimately, Farage’s last-minute agreement to speak booted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s scheduled speech at the Mississippi rally.
“If I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me,” Farage told the crowd at the rally. “Anything is possible if enough American people stand up against the establishment.”