British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Washington in her first face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday. Both reaffirmed the strong relationship between the two countries.
The pair are expected to sit down in an hour-long meeting with trade and foreign policy as the hot topics of discussion.
In light of the current political climate – Trump signed an executive order this week to scrap the controversial Obama-era TPP and May is coordinating Britain’s exit from the European Union – the leaders are expected to lay the foundations of new trade agreements.
Foreign policy regarding NATO and Russia also tops the agenda, with May expected to gain Trump’s continued support of NATO despite his earlier criticisms of the military alliance as obsolete and a drain on U.S. resources.
In a joint press conference ahead of the meeting, May said that Trump confirmed that he is "100 percent in favor of NATO" adding that they will speak about fighting the Islamic State group as well as conducting high-level talks on trade.
While May said that there would be issues that the nations would disagree on, both leaders said they were confident of continuing their strong relationship.
Western concerns over Russia will also be discussed. Trump is due to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on the weekend.
"I don't say, good, bad or indifferent," said Trump in regard to Putin, adding that he wants to foster a good relationship with the Russian President.
Trump reiterated his desire to radically change the U.S. trading relationship with Mexico, saying that Mexico had continually "out-negotiated" the U.S.
May did not comment on Mexico-U.S. relations, saying it was a matter between those two countries.
Trump said that Brexit would be positive for the U.K. to control its border and economy "once it irons out."
In what appeared to be rhetoric similar to Trump’s plan to put “America First,” May said that both powers cannot “return to the failed policies of the past," in reference to foreign interventions “to remake the world in our own image, ” speaking ahead of the meeting in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
“We have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to – to stand strong together to defend our values,” May continued. “It is the relationship between us that has defined the modern world.”
May also praised the Republican Party and Trump for his election win, “because of that great victory you have won, America can be stronger, greater and more confident in the years ahead.”
May laid a wreath of poppies at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of the capital.The British Prime Minister's visit, however, was off to an embarrassing start when the White House misspelled her name as “Teresa” in a schedule for the meetings.
The two leaders posed for photos at the White House in front of a newly-returned bust of British wartime leader Winston Churchill before heading into private talks. The meeting was Trump’s first since being inaugurated as president last week.