London: British Prime Minister Theresa May is set for her first meeting with Donald Trump in the spring after his inauguration as US President this month, Downing Street announced today.
The meeting comes in the wake of the British PM’s joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, travelling to the US to meet members of Trump’s team in mid-December and is expected to take place as early as next month.
“The Prime Minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful. We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the Prime Minister looks forward to visiting the new President in the spring,” Downing Street said.
The meeting is expected to take place at the White House after the January 20 inauguration of the new American President and before May’s deadline to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to trigger Britain’s official exit negotiations from the European Union (EU).
May, like her predecessor David Cameron, has previously expressed concern about Trump’s stance on immigration, saying in December 2015 that his suggestion that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the US was, “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”.
But she went on to welcome his election unreservedly. Her aides were also equally outspoken in the lead up to the election. In May last year, before becoming joint chief of staff at Number 10, Timothy said on Twitter that he did not want “any ‘reaching out’ to Trump”, while Hill tweeted: “Donald Trump is a chump.”
The President-elect had first invited May to visit in a phone-call shortly after his election victory in November. It was known that she would visit Washington in the early months of 2017. Downing Street is yet to confirm a date for this visit but it is widely believed the visit will take place within weeks of the January 20 inauguration ceremony for the new President in Washington.