British Prime Minister Theresa May Becomes First Foreign Leader To Visit President At White House… Says NATO Has 100% Support Of Donald Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May Becomes First Foreign Leader To Visit President At White House… Says NATO Has 100% Support Of Donald Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May Becomes First Foreign Leader To Visit President At White House… Says NATO Has 100% Support Of Donald Trump

Theresa May has secured a commitment from Donald Trump that the US is fully behind Nato at a historic press conference with an uncharacteristically emollient president.

May’s wisdom in becoming the first foreign leader to visit Trump in the White House had been questioned, after a series of wayward comments from the president in the run-up to the much anticipated meeting on Friday.

But she will hope to claim some credit for persuading him to reaffirm his country’s allegiance to the transatlantic alliance, which he has previously described as “obsolescent”.

Standing next to Trump, who nodded along, May said: “On defence and security cooperation, we’re united in our recognition of Nato as the bulwark of our collective defence and we reaffirmed our unshakeable commitment to this alliance. We’re 100% behind Nato.

“I agreed to continue my efforts to persuade my fellow European leaders to deliver on their commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence, so that the burden is more fairly shared.”

Trump also appeared to moderate his stance on torture, suggesting that while he still believes “enhanced interrogation” works, he would defer to the views of his defence secretary, James Mattiss, who has previously said he does not believe such methods are effective.

Referring to Mattis, Trump said: “He has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture, waterboarding, or however you want to define it. I don’t necessarily agree, but I can tell you that he will override me, because I’m giving him that power.”

Downing Street has sought to toe a difficult line, between Britain’s need to maintain a close relationship with the US as it leaves the EU, and Trump’s unpredictability, as well as the fact that many British voters are sceptical about him.

British Prime Minister Theresa May Becomes First Foreign Leader To Visit President At White House… Says NATO Has 100% Support Of Donald Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May Becomes First Foreign Leader To Visit President At White House… Says NATO Has 100% Support Of Donald Trump

But No 10 was delighted by the gaffe-free press conference, in which Trump displayed unusual calm. Sources said the two leaders felt they had gained something from their dialogue in the Oval Office, which was followed by a working lunch of braised beef short ribs.

Trump, who visited Scotland the day after the EU referendum last June, said he had been “scorned” after expressing support for Brexit, adding: “I think Brexit’s going to be a wonderful thing for your country and I think it will be a tremendous asset, not a tremendous liability.”

May said she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit to Britain later this year. “I am delighted that the president has accepted that invitation,” she said.

The packed press conference was the first of Trump’s presidency with a foreign leader, and at times, he appeared to be choosing his words more carefully than usual.

The prime minister met Trump together with her joint chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, as well as the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch.

Trump suggested that the pair had struck up a rapport, calling the prime minister by her first name. “I think I am a people person, and I think you are also, Theresa,” he said. Video footage had earlier shown them briefly holding hands.

A restrained Trump opened the press conference by paying tribute to the longstanding ties between the two countries. “The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces for justice and for peace, and by the way, my mother was born in Scotland,” he said.

Read More @ Theguardian

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