WASHINGTON, D.C. — British Prime Minister Theresa May says President Donald Trump has reaffirmed both countries’ “unshakeable commitment” to the NATO military alliance.
Trump had rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is “obsolete” and that the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don’t meet targets for their own defense spending.
May’s comments after their meeting Friday are meant to put that concern to rest. She says the two also agreed it is important for member countries to “invest properly to face our shared challenges together.”
May also says she extended an invitation to visit England on behalf of the queen and that Trump has accepted.
During the meeting, Trump also pledged support for what he calls a “most special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.
“The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history” for justice and peace, he said.
Trump said the U.S. “respects the sovereignty of the British people and their right of self-determination” and says both counties understand “that governments must be responsive to everyday working people.”
May is the first foreign leader to visit since Trump took office last week. The visit Friday comes a day after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called off his own trip to Washington, planned for next week, amid wrangling over who will pay for Trump’s planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s spokesman said the president would seek a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for the barrier, then later clarified that such a tax would be a possible approach.
May’s meeting with the president in the Oval Office is being hailed by the British government as a sign that the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” is valued by the new administration.