May backtracks on Trump criticism, praising ‘easy to talk to’ president-elect
The PM also insisted Trump is committed to the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the US and Britain.
May’s comments are part of an apparent effort to build bridges with the incoming Trump administration, after several top UK government figures attacked the president-elect during the election campaign.
“What I have found with Donald Trump is that he is somebody who very much values the relationship he has with the UK,” May said during a trade visit to Bahrain.
“When we’ve talked that’s been one of the key things we’ve talked about, is the depth of our special relationship, and the fact that we both want to ensure that we obviously maintain that, but we also build on that for the future.”
Asked how she found the president-elect, May said: “Very easy to talk to.”
The PM’s comments contrast sharply with remarks she made as home secretary during the election campaign.
In the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Trump claimed that parts of London are so radicalized that police are afraid for their lives.
In response to the comments, May said at the time: “I just think it shows he does not understand the UK and what happens in the UK.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was mayor of London at the time, was even fiercer in his attack.
“I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind if he thinks that’s a sensible way to proceed, to ban people going to the United States in that way, or to any country,” he said.
“What he’s doing is playing the game of the terrorists and those who seek to divide us. That's exactly the kind of reaction they hope to produce.
“I think he’s betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of president of the United States. I would invite him to come and see the whole of London and take him round the city – except I wouldn’t want to expose any Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump. The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”
Not sure how Tories feel about Donald Trump endorsing Nigel Farage as ambassador? Watch Boris Johnson's response pic.twitter.com/a488t4qyxr— RT UK (@RTUKnews) November 22, 2016
Johnson has since changed his tune in relation to Trump, tweeting that he was “looking forward” to working with the new president shortly after his election.
The foreign secretary responded to the dismay and disappointment expressed by many European politicians following Trump’s victory.
“I would respectfully say to my beloved European friends and colleagues that it’s time that we snapped out of the general doom and gloom about the result of this election and collective ‘whinge-o-rama’ that seems to be going on in some places,” he said.