British Prime Minister Theresa May opened up about her relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying they “work very well together.”
“I do get on with him … President Trump has actually … an affection for the United Kingdom. Like many Americans he has family connections with the United Kingdom, and we work very well together,” May told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview in London that aired on “This Week” Sunday. “The U.K. and the U.S. have always had a special relationship and worked well together.”
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May’s positive view of Trump may not be reciprocated by most people in the U.K. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 22 percent of people in that country have confidence in the U.S. leader to do the right thing in world affairs.
Asked about the poll by Stephanopoulos, May responded, “What I say is that they should look to what President Trump has done.”
May offered as an example Trump’s position as president on NATO.
“I know a number of people were concerned before he became president about his statements about America’s commitment to NATO,” the prime minister said. “NATO has been the bedrock of Europe security. I was very pleased when I came over to see him, shortly after his inauguration, that he gave an absolute 100 percent commitment to NATO.”
But May said she has disagreed with some of Trump’s positions, including his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
“I think the point about the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. is that when we do disagree we’re able to say so. And– pretty bluntly,” she said. “For example, on the Paris issue that you talk about, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, I’ve made very clear I was dismayed when America decided to pull out of that. And I, as I’ve said to President Trump, I hope that they’ll be … able to find a way for America to come back into the agreement.”
May was the first foreign leader to meet Trump at the White House in January, and the two leaders affirmed the longstanding good relationship between their countries.
During the visit, Britain’s prime minister extended an invitation for the newly-inaugurated U.S. president to visit the U.K., a move that was met with criticism in her country.
Stephanopoulos asked if that visit was going to happen.
“Her Majesty the Queen issued the invitation,” May said. “The president has accepted it. It’s just a question of getting dates … and sorting out the logistics.”
“So it has nothing to do with the opposition here in the United Kingdom?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“No, this is, this is about finding dates … the invitation was issued and the invitation has been accepted,” the British leader said.
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May became prime minister in 2016, after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, a decision known as Brexit.
She was initially against leaving the EU, but says she will ensure the move happens.
“I’m going to pass Brexit, I’m going to make sure that Brexit happens because the British people voted for it. And I think it’s really important that politicians actually do respond and do listen to people,” May told Stephanopoulos. “We gave the public the choice. They made their choice.”
The prime minister will be back in the United States this week, when she is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. She said she wants Americans to know about two of her primary goals.
“One is this issue of ensuring that we can stop terrorists from plotting online, plotting on the internet, and that we can stop the spread of the hateful extremist ideology, which can inspire terrorism. I think that’s really important for us,” May said.
“Another issue I’m going to be talking about is something that most people probably don’t think about, don’t think happens. It’s what I call modern slavery, which is when people are being effectively taken into servitude, into slavery, for sexual exploitation or labor exploitation,” said May. “It’s happening under our noses.”