Theresa May and Donald Trump Talk Trade, Mexico, Foreign Relations in First Meeting
Theresa May is the first foreign leader to meet with President Trump.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump confirmed their shared interests at a joint press conference today.
While the shortest US presidential press conference in history lasted just 10 minutes, Trump and May came close — theirs lasted 18 minutes according to the UK Telegraph. Still, they covered a range of issues.
The two world leaders, both who have expressed increasingly nationalistic perspectives, talked trade, Russia, Mexico, and expressed their excitement to work together “to do the best for ordinary working people” as Prime Minister May said during the conference.
President Trump kicked off the press conference by thanking PM May for her visit. She, in turn, responded by congratulating President Trump on his win, and thanking him for such a quick invitation. She is the first foreign diplomat to meet with President Trump, after he took the presidential oath on Jan. 20..
“The invitation is an indication of the strength and importance of the special relationship that exists between our two countries, a relationship based on the bonds of history, of family, kinship and common interests,” said PM May.
She then extended an invitation on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to visit the United Kingdom, which Trump accepted.
President Trump emphasized his support for Brexit.
“A free and independent Britain is a blessing to the world,” said Trump. He also noted that he expected the country to vote to pull out of the European Union.
MP May called attention to President Trump’s confirmation on support for NATO, which he previously said was “obsolete.”
“Mr. President, I think you confirmed that you are ‘100% behind’ NATO,” said PM May.
President Trump gave a glimmer of hope on the human rights issue of torture, and also a point of conflict between the US and UK regarding information exchange. Trump has expressed his desire to bring back waterboarding, and other forms of torture for information gain. However, he said he would defer to US Secretary of Defence James Mattis on the issue.
“James Mattis, our new defense secretary, has said he does not believe in torture... I don't necessarily agree, but I'm telling you he will override as I'm giving him that responsibility,” said Trump.
Trump was also questioned by the press on a call he had earlier today with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, who cancelled a planned trip to the US.
President Trump said he “love[s] the Mexican people” and that it was a very friendly call and he looks forward to continuing to work with Mexico after stating he has “been very strong” on Mexico since they “beat us to a pulp” when it comes to outsourcing and trade negotiations.
Their meeting comes after PM May delivered a speech to Republicans in Philadelphia Thursday, where she touched on “shared Conservative” values and hinted at a coming free trade agreement between the US and UK.
More urgent than many of the topics covered in the press conference is President Trump’s signing of an order to block Syrian refugees from entering the US. He plans to sign the executive order Friday afternoon.