LONDON British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday she would not be afraid to tell Donald Trump when she finds something he has said unacceptable, as she prepares to meet the new U.S. President in Washington this week.
May, who is Britain’s second female premier, made the comments after thousands of women marched in London on Saturday to protest about Trump’s attitude to women, joining demonstrations held from Australia and Asia to continental Europe and Washington.
Following last year’s vote to leave the European Union, the British government has been keen to deepen ties with the United States and other nations outside Europe to show that Brexit will not diminish its standing in the world.
The meeting on Friday will be an opportunity for May, who initially struggled to build relations with Trump’s team, to discuss what has long been called the “special relationship” between London and Washington, a pillar of British foreign policy.
But the visit will also be clouded by his perceived attitude towards women, including a boast in a 2005 video about grabbing women’s genitals, which prompted the wave of mass protests on Saturday.
“I’ve already said that some of the comments that Donald Trump has made in relation to women are unacceptable, some of those he himself has apologised for,” May told the BBC.
“When I sit down (with Trump) I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female prime minister,” she said. “Whenever there is something that I find unacceptable I won’t be afraid to say that to Donald Trump.”
May is trying to improve relations with Trump after he irritated the British government soon after being elected by saying Nigel Farage, an outspoken anti-EU campaigner and critic of May, would be a good choice for Britain’s ambassador to Washington.
She said she would use the meeting to discuss the future trading relationship between the United States and Britain, as well as the NATO defence alliance and challenges such as defeating terrorism.
Trump, who endorsed the British vote in a June referendum to leave the EU, has said he wants to arrange a swift bilateral trade deal with Britain.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Mark Potter and David Stamp)