President Trump Touts ‘Special Relationship’ With British PM May

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President Donald Trump is pledging support for what he calls a “most special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.

Trump says in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May it is an honor to have her at the White House as his first official visit from a foreign leader.

He says, “The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history” for justice and peace.

He says 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.”

ON NATO 

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.

ON RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA

Prime Minister May is taking a tougher stance on sanctions on Russia than is President Trump.

Mr. Trump was asked at a joint news conference after his White House meeting with May how close the U.S. is to lifting sanctions on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine.

Trump says it is “very early to be talking about that.” He says the U.S. looks to have a great relationship with all countries, including Russia.

May says Britain wants to see sanctions remain until a 2015 cease-fire agreement for Ukraine is fully implemented.

DEALING WITH THE EU & ‘BREXIT’ CONCERNS

President Trump says his experience as a businessman dealing with Europe was “very, very tough,” and “a very bad experience,” while dealing with Britain was far smoother.

He says that’s why he thinks Britain’s exit from the European Union will be “a fantastic thing for the United Kingdom.”

Trump says he expects to get along well with May because they both enjoy being around other people. He quipped: “I’m not as brash as you might think.”

May says they share a political approach of putting “the interests of ordinary people right up there center-stage.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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