One week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump welcomed his first foreign leader to the White House – Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
At a press briefing, both leaders emphasized the two countries’ special relationship.
President Trump called it a “deep bond” with military, financial, cultural and political dimensions. He said, “Together America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law…Our relationship has never been stronger. Both America and Britain understand that governments must be responsive to everyday working people, that governments must represent their own citizens.”
Prime Minister May sounded a similar note, saying she and President Trump share the approach of putting “the interests of ordinary working people up there, center stage.” She also invoked the special relationship, noting that both leaders “are ambitious to build on this relationship in order to grow our respective economies.” She said Britain and the United States are discussing how to lay the groundwork for a U.K.-U.S. trade agreement and “identify the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily.”
Such a trade deal in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, Prime Minister May said, “will cement the crucial relationship that exists between us, particularly as the U.K. leaves the European Union and reaches out to the world.”
Prime Minister May spoke of other areas of agreement: the need to redouble efforts to defeat ISIS and the ideology of Islamist extremism; the importance of NATO and the necessity of seeing that NATO is equipped to fight terrorism and cyber warfare, as well as conventional forms of war. She promised to continue her efforts to “encourage …fellow European leaders to deliver on their commitments to spend two percent of the GDP on defense, so that the burden is more fairly shared…[and] we are properly equipped to face our shared challenges together.”
President Trump said to Prime Minister May, “We look forward to working closely with you as we strengthen our mutual ties in commerce, business and foreign affairs. Great days lie ahead for our two peoples and our two countries.”