Donald Trump plans meeting with Britain's Theresa May at Davos economic forum

Trump escorting May after their meeting at the White House, Jan 27, 2017.
Trump escorting May after their meeting at the White House, Jan 27, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May next week while he is at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced plans for the meeting on Friday (Jan 19), saying in an emailed statement that Trump "looks forward to having a bilateral meeting with" May in order to "further strengthen the US-UK Special Relationship."

Trump said last week that he "cancelled" a visit to London to formally open the new US embassy because the old site had been sold for "peanuts" and the new building, in an "off location," was a "bad deal".

There had been controversy over the possibility of a Trump visit to Britain ever since May delivered an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II in January last year.

Opposition groups promised protests if he visited and John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, said he would not be welcome to address Parliament.

Trump's criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan over his response to terrorist attacks and retweeting of propaganda by a fringe far-right British political group stoked anger at the president.

Trump even directly criticised May for condemning his retweets of Britain First, saying she should mind her own business.

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put a different gloss on the decision, saying earlier this week the president was avoiding a visit to Britain because he wants to allow May to focus her attention on withdrawing from the European Union.