NEWS

Theresa May Will Visit Donald Trump This Week In Major Diplomatic Victory For The UK

A real coup for the PM.

22/01/2017 09:35

Theresa May has achieved a major diplomatic victory by becoming the first foreign leader to visit Donald Trump when she travels to the United States next week.

The visit represents a coup for the Prime Minister after an uncertain start to relations with the president following his shock election in November.

The trip will follow a weekend in which hundreds of thousands of people in the US, UK and around the world joined women’s marches to protest against the controversial tycoon’s presidency.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Theresa May has secured a major diplomatic coup in organising a meeting with President Trump this week

It was unclear whether May would be meeting Trump on Thursday or Friday after White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a news conference in the West Wing: “The president will welcome his first foreign leader this Thursday when the United Kingdom’s Theresa May will come to Washington on Friday.”

On Saturday, massive “pink pussy hat” marches in Washington DC and London highlighted Trump’s highly controversial past statements about women.

At least 500,000 people gathered for a rally outside the US Capitol building while organisers said an estimated 100,000 people descended on central London, as similar events were staged in Edinburgh, Bristol and cities across the US.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
President Trump confirmed that he will speak with May face-to-face this week

May has promised to be “very frank” during talks, making clear she has found some of the president’s comments “unacceptable”, including his suggestion that his fame allowed him to “do anything” to women, such as “grabbing them by the pussy”.

And she has distanced herself from suggestions the pair could rekindle the Reagan-Thatcher bond of the 1980s, saying she does not want to emulate models from the past, the Press Association reported.

The premier is “confident” of striking a trade agreement with Mr Trump despite his “America first” strategy sparking concerns in the UK about his willingness to to a deal. 

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Womens' marches across the world were held on Saturday in a show of force on President Trump's first day in office

But May has suggested the UK and US could reduce barriers to trade before being able to sign a formal agreement after Brexit, with a new passporting system to govern transatlantic bank trade reportedly being considered.

The prime minister is likely to emphasise the importance of Nato and the EU for collective security and defence after Trump again worried some observers about his commitment to both organisations.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the pair could agree a statement emphasising their commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence and urging other Nato countries to do so, as well as promising action against Islamic State terrorists.

It is likely that May’s trip to the US will be followed by a state visit by Trump to Britain, which would include an audience with the Queen and the pomp and pageantry of which the president seems so fond.

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