Monday, 16 July 2018

UK PM Theresa May to be first foreign leader to meet President Trump

LONDON: US President Donald Trump will welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday in his first meeting with a foreign leader, the White House said. White House press secretary Sean Spicer made the announcement at a briefing last night. The visit represents a coup for the Ms May 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, Ireland and around the world joined women’s marches to protest against the controversial tycoon’s presidency. Yesterday, massive “pink pussy hat” marches in Washington DC and London highlighted Mr Trump’s highly controversial past statements about women. Similar events were held in Dublin and Galway. 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.

Ms 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. Ms May is “confident” of striking a trade agreement with Mr Trump despite his “America first” strategy sparking concerns in the UK about his willingness to do a deal. But she 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. Ms May is likely to emphasise the importance of NATO and the EU for collective security and defence after Mr Trump again worried some observers about his commitment to both organisations.

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