What has Theresa May said about Donald Trump?
The British Prime Minister is coy about her personal views of Donald Trump’s many controversies and has instead stressed the overriding importance of the UK-US special relationship.
Unable to deny their obvious differences, Theresa May has jokingly asked: “Haven’t you ever noticed that sometimes opposites attract?”
The hardworking vicar’s daughter is known for her cool, collected and steely persona and her unshowy determination to get on with the job in hand.
In contrast, the brash US billionaire and reality TV star revels in the limelight, forcefully retaliates to snubs and provokes controversy at ever turn.
Just yesterday, Mr Trump said he “absolutely feels” that torture works as he pledged to “fight fire with fire” in the battle against terrorism.
Mrs May’s response was characteristically impersonal but firm. She said: “We absolutely condemn torture. That will not change.”
She revealed another fundamental difference between their political outlooks by pointedly praising Nato – an alliance dismissed by Trump as obsolete.
Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to Washington, said that “they look like the odd couple, but you never know — what’s required is a good working relationship.”
Since Mr Trump’s election, Mrs May has launched a charm offensive because she wants to secure a US-UK trade deal by strengthening the special relationship.
Despite his deeply controversial comments about women and Muslims, she said: “I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump.”
She has acknowledged that “some of the comments that Donald Trump has made in relation to women are unacceptable, some of those he himself has apologised for.”
Ukip’s Nigel Farage – the first UK politician to meet Mr Trump after his election – told Fox News: “Mrs May’s team has been quite rude about Trump so there are some fences to be mended.”
History of a special relationship: Presidents and Prime Ministers together
Wed, January 25, 2017
Ahead of the meeting between Theresa May and Donald Trump, a look back at the close ties between the U.S. and Britain.
1 of 18
Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street
Last year Parliament debated a petition calling for Mr Trump to be banned from visiting the UK after his proposed ban on Muslims entering America.
At the time Mrs May, then Home Secretary, told a Commons committee that Mr Trump's comments about barring Muslims from the US were "divisive, unhelpful and wrong"
Former Prime Minister David Cameron also said: “I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country I think it'd unite us all against him."
At the time Mr Trump replied: "It looks like we're not going to have a very good relationship, who knows.
"I hope to have a good relationship with him, but it sounds like he's not willing to address the problem either."