WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump pledged support Friday for what he called a “most special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.
Trump said in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May that it was an honor to have her at the White House as his first official visit from a foreign leader.
“The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history” for justice and peace, the president said.
He said the U.S. “respects the sovereignty of the British people and their right of self-determination” and said both countries understand “that governments must be responsive to everyday working people.”
“A free and independent Britain is a blessing to the world and our relationship has never been stronger,” he said.
Trump also said 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.”
Trump and May met in the Oval Office before they both delivered a statement and took questions from reporters.
May said Trump 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.
But May said the two agreed it is important for member countries to “invest properly to face our shared challenges together.”
She also said she extended an invitation to visit England on behalf of the queen and that Trump has accepted.
May’s visit comes a day after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called off his own trip to Washington, planned for next week, amid wrangling over who will pay for Trump’s planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump said he had a “friendly call” with the Mexican president Friday, adding that the two would be “working on a fair relationship.”
“We are going to renegotiate our trade and we’re going to renegotiate other aspects of our relationship with Mexico and in the end, I think it will be good for both countries,” Trump said.
The Kremlin also announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to speak by phone with Trump on Saturday. Putin congratulated Trump on his victory shortly after his election, but the Kremlin says they haven’t spoken since then.
(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)