Richard Branson brands Trump "an embarrassment for the world"

The Virgin boss pulled no punches in his assessment of the new US president...

Richard Branson brands Trump "an embarrassment for the world"

Picture by: Ted S. Warren/AP/Press Association Images

Sir Richard Branson has called Donald Trump's first two months in the White House "disastrous", decrying what he sees as the US president's tenuous relationship with the truth.

The famous founder of the Virgin Group told New Zealand radio station NewsHub:

"I've found it rather an embarrassment for the world to have an individual running America who does not speak the truth all the time, [who] instead of opening borders to immigrants, has made it really difficult to get in to American, and the list goes on and on."

Branson, who spoke out publicly about the potential dangers of Trump during his presidential campaign last year, opined that while the idea of installing someone from the world of business into the highest office in America could be a sound one, the worst possible choice was made.

He continued:

"There are a lot of great business leaders like [Michael] Bloomberg who would have been great presidents of America. I think Trump is the one businessperson I know who is certainly not the right person to be running a great country like America."

Not that he thinks he'll have to put up with him being in power for long, as he forecast:

"The first days in office have been so disastrous that I think the chances of it lasting more than one term are extremely unlikely and I think that's the only saving grace about the way he's behaving at the moment."

Branson previously got personal in a blog post, recounting one sour dinner encounter he had with the former Apprentice star:

"Even before the starters arrived he began telling me about how he had asked a number of people for help after his latest bankruptcy and how five of them were unwilling to help.

"He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people.

“He didn’t speak about anything else and I found it very bizarre... I left the lunch feeling disturbed and saddened by what I’d heard.

"What concerns me most, based upon my personal experiences with Donald Trump, is his vindictive streak, which could be so dangerous if he got into the White House. For somebody who is running to be the leader of the free world to be so wrapped up in himself, rather than concerned with global issues, is very worrying."

The billionaire has a far better relationship with Trump's predecessor.

Indeed, when Barack Obama left office, one of his first ports of call was Branson's Necker Island retreat in the Caribbean.

Branson wrote of that trip:

"It was a huge honour to be able to invite President Barack and Michelle Obama down to the British Virgin Islands for a complete break after Barack finished his second term as President and the family left the White House."

The 66-year-old Londoner even took the opportunity to teach Barack how to kitesurf:

"One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii. When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: 'This will be the last time you surf for eight years'.

"For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy water-sports or do many of the things he loved. So it was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf.

"We were neck and neck until the last run on the last day, when I got up on the foilboard and screamed along for over 50 metres, three feet above the water. I was feeling very pleased with myself, only to look over and see Barack go 100 metres on his kiteboard!"