UK PM, Trump to Discuss Trade, NATO 01/22 10:13
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday she plans to discuss free
trade and the importance of the NATO military alliance when she becomes the
first foreign leader to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington
LONDON (AP) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday she plans to
discuss free trade and the importance of the NATO military alliance when she
becomes the first foreign leader to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in
The White House's invitation for May to meet with Trump on Friday was seen
in Britain as affirmation that Trump values the vaunted "special relationship"
between the United States and its longtime ally across the Atlantic.
She told BBC's Andrew Marr that the Trump team is interested in discussing a
new trade arrangement with Britain despite the "America first" theme of Trump's
inaugural address and his vow to evaluate every trade deal for its possible
benefits to the United States.
Any national leader would do the same when deciding whether to sign a trade
pact, May said.
Britain sees a future trade agreement with the United States as vital as the
country prepares to leave the European Union. However, Britain's desire for
increased trade could clash with Trump's protectionist stance.
May said she would also raise the value of the NATO military alliance during
the meeting. She called it the "bulwark" of Europe's defense system.
Trump has rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is "obsolete" and that
the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don't meet
targets for their own defense spending.
May maintained that Trump understands NATO's vital role. European leaders
worry about a watering down of the NATO role given the increasingly aggressive
actions by Russia in recent years.
The prime minister didn't directly answer questions about whether she will
use Friday's meeting to challenge Trump over derogatory comments he has made
about women. May criticized crude remarks of his that surfaced during the
But she said she would speak out if she finds his future behavior or
comments "unacceptable." May said she has a long track record promoting equal
rights for women, adding that she is proud to be Britain's second female prime
"When I sit down, I think the biggest statement that will be made about the
role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female prime minister,
prime minister of the United Kingdom, directly taking to him about the
interests that we share," she said.
British officials say May will also speak to Republican senators and
representatives at a retreat in Philadelphia.