At their joint press conference at the White House, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit later this year. May said that this was a further sign of the “special relationship” that their two nations enjoy with each other. When Trump met May with a warm handshake, he told her that it was “an honor” to receive her. She replied, “Well, thank you, Mr. President.”
In the case of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the first foreign head of state to visit in either case was a president of Mexico. In the former case, it was Vicente Fox Quesada, and in the latter, it was Felipe Calderon Hinojosa.
Signalling a renewal of the special relationship, Trump was seen grasping May’s hand as they walked in the portico of the White House. May was wearing scarlet red, perhaps in tribute to the redcoats who once ranged over North America or to the red color that is now used to signal Republicans instead of the blue of conservatives.
Today, they talked about NATO, trade, and their shared fight against the Islamic State. welcomed his first foreign leader to the White House on Friday, Britain's Theresa May. The president and the prime minister were shown to bond before a bronze bust of Winston Churchill. “This is the original,” Trump said of the bust. “This is the original, folks, in many ways.”
After their private meeting, they held a joint conference about one hour later. May promised to practice frankness as part of the special relationship. “I've been listening to the president and the president's been listening to me. And there will be times when we disagree,” she said. May added that on “many issues’ the pair will “stand alongside one another.”
The special relationship has some Europeans dismayed. For example, Emmanuel Macron -- an independent presidential candidate in France -- said that the UK has become a "vassal" to the US. Macron is a former investment banker whose popularity has begun to rival conservative Francois Fillon and nationalist Marine Le Pen, He delivered a stinging assessment of May's visit to Washington. After saying that the rise of Trump is "worrying," Fillon said on France Culture radio that the UK is failing in prestige. "But now it is becoming a vassal state, meaning it is becoming the junior partner of the United States.”
At issue is whether the United States and the United Kingdom may reach an independent bilateral trade agreement. Because the UK has not yet left the EU, negotiating such a deal until it leaves the EU is forbidden under treaty. May told senior politicians during her visit, "I think there is much we can do in the interim in terms of looking at how we can remove some of the barriers to trade in a number of areas, so we are able to see an advantage to both of us even if we haven't been able to sign that legal free trade agreement." In the same speech, May denounced what she called two decades of "'failed" liberal interventionist foreign policy that has dragged her country into a series of conflicts.