LONDON – US president-elect Donald Trump on Thursday invited British Prime Minister Theresa May to visit him “as soon as possible” as they held their first conversation since his election, Downing Street said.
The pair reaffirmed the “very special” relationship between their two countries, while May emphasised their “long history of shared values” and of standing together “when it counts the most”, her office said.
Congratulating Trump on his shock win in Tuesday’s presidential election, the British Conservative leader emphasised her wish to strengthen trade and investment as Britain leaves the European Union.
The so-called “special relationship” is of huge importance to London, particularly now as it prepares to sever its ties with the EU following the June vote to leave the bloc.
Trump, whose mother was Scottish and who has two golf courses in Scotland, emphasised his close and personal connections and “warmth” for Britain, saying it is “a very, very special place for me and for our country”.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacted to Trump’s election by saying she was not prepared to stay silent in the face of “attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance”.
Sturgeon stripped Trump of his “Global Scot” status during the election campaign after he pledged to halt Muslim immigration into the US.
Speaking at the regional Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Sturgeon praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approach to have a “constructive engagement with the new president but one based on the values of respect for all, tolerance and diversity”.
“I very much hope that we see a president Trump who is very different from the candidate Trump,” Sturgeon said, adding that she wanted to strengthen ties between Scotland and the US.
Trump keeps London waiting
May was quick to congratulate Trump in a letter, and some commentators had begun questioning why she had not yet received a phone call more than 24 hours after he won the US presidency.
“Mrs May and the rest of the government should be deeply concerned that the next leader of the world’s most powerful country is not exactly falling over himself to make contact,” one commentator wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Finance minister Philip Hammond said the apparent delay in the phone call, initiated by Trump, was only because the two leaders “do not have any urgent business that we need to transact”.
Trump was elected after one of the most bitter and divisive campaigns in history. May noted his commitment in his acceptance speech to unite his country, adding that it was a “task we all need to focus on globally”.
Britain’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, also struck a conciliatory tone and dismissed what he described as “the general doom and gloom” which has surrounded Trump’s shock win.
“I believe this is a great opportunity for us in the UK to build a better relationship with America.
“It is of fundamental economic importance to us but also of greater importance for the stability and prosperity of the world,” Johnson said during a visit to Belgrade.