Theresa May to visit Donald Trump in spring

British prime minister to visit Donald Trump in spring

British Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Donald Trump this spring, following his inauguration as US president, Downing Street announced on Thursday.

May's joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill travelled to the US last month to meet Trump's team.

"This was part of a process leading towards the PM's first visit with President-elect Trump," a Downing Street spokesman told AFP.

"During the second phone call with President-elect Trump, the prime minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful."

May had previously spoken to Trump following his election in November, during which he invited her to visit "as soon as possible".

The prime minister's office said the visit was secured after her aides met with Trump's team.

"We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the prime minister looks forward to visiting the new president in the spring," the spokesman said.

The British government would not confirm a date for the visit, which Sky News reported as scheduled for February.

Trump is due to be sworn in as US president on January 20.

Following the US election the first call between the pair reaffirmed the "very special" relationship between their two countries, while May emphasised their "long history of shared values" and of standing together "when it counts the most", her office said.

May at the time emphasised her wish to strengthen trade and investment with the US as Britain leaves the European Union following a June 2016 referendum on membership of the bloc.

Maintaining strong ties to Washington could help London as it faces economic uncertainty outside the EU, although so far Trump has not been viewed as making Britain a priority.

Commentators were quick to question why he waited more than 24 hours after his election before calling the British premier. Trump's relationship with a key right-wing UK politician has also proven unsettling for the establishment.

Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party, had joined Trump during his election bid and in November became the first British politician to meet him after the vote.

The meeting was an upset for the British government and worsened still when Trump tweeted that Farage "would do a great job" as Britain's ambassador to the US.

Downing Street and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson both stressed that there was "no vacancy".

© Provided by AFP British Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured in 2016, will meet Donald Trump following his inauguration in the spring
Theresa May to visit Donald Trump in the spring, No 10 confirms

Theresa May’s two closest aides have visited Washington to pave the way for a meeting between the prime minister and Donald Trump in the spring, No 10 has confirmed.

Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, May’s joint chiefs of staff, flew to the US capital last month to liaise with Trump’s advisers after the incoming president appeared to be more interested in meeting former Ukip leader Nigel Farage than the prime minister.

“The prime minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful,” Downing Street told Bloomberg. “We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the prime minister looks forward to visiting the new president in the spring.”

Farage, who appeared at a rally during Trump’s campaign for the White House, was pictured grinning triumphantly alongside the president-elect at Trump Tower just days after the result was announced.

Negotiating a favourable trade deal with the US will be crucial as Britain leaves the European Union and tries to forge a new place in the global economy. Barack Obama flew to London during the referendum campaign to warn that Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for trade talks after Brexit.

Trump has struck a more positive note, although he has expressed scepticism about trade deals more generally, pledging to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan, for example, and to throw up new barriers against imports.

May, like her predecessor David Cameron, had previously expressed concern about Trump’s stance on immigration, saying in December 2015 that his suggestion that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the US was, “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”.

But she welcomed his election unreservedly, unlike German chancellor Angela Merkel, who issued a carefully-worded message, saying: “Germany and America are bound by common values — democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.”

May took the unusual step last week of issuing a statement distancing Britain from a speech made by the outgoing US secretary of state, John Kerry, about Israel, in a move widely seen as seeking to strengthen ties with Trump.


BREAKING NEWS: Theresa May to fly to the US to meet Donald Trump in the spring despite her key aide posting 'Donald Trump is a chump' on Twitter

Theresa May will fly to the US to meet Donald Trump 'in the spring', it has emerged.

The Prime Minister will make the trip to Washington to hold talks with the new president within his first few months in office, according to a source.

The groundwork for the meeting was laid last month when Mrs May sent her joint chiefs of staff on a secret mission to New York and Washington.

Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are said to have met senior aides to the Republican leader during the fence-mending mission. The visit might may have proved awkward as both publicly criticised Mr Trump on Twitter before entering Number 10.

Ms Hill said 'Donald Trump is a chump' while Mr Timothy said he didn't 'want any "reaching out" to Trump'.

Last month's mission was part of Mrs May's efforts to build a relationship with the controversial tycoon ahead of his inauguration on January 20.

A source said: 'This was part of a process leading towards the PM's first visit with President-elect Trump.

'During the second phone call with president-elect Trump, the Prime Minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful.

However it suffered a setback in November last year after it emerged Mr Timothy and Ms Hill had criticised Mr Trump on Twitter.

In December 2015, Miss Hill described Mr Trump as 'a chump' in the wake of his controversial comments about Muslims.
In March last year, Mr Timothy wrote: 'American politics was depressing enough before Trump took off.'
In May, he added: 'Urgh... as a Tory I don't want any ''reaching out'' to Trump.'

It is typical for the prime minister to visit the new president in the months following the inauguration. President Obama hosted Gordon Brown in March 2009 - he was sworn into office in the January of that year - and George W Bush invited Tony Blair to Camp David in early February 2001. 



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