LONDON — Theresa May sent her two most senior aides on a mission to build bridges with US President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration after a difficult start, according to a Bloomberg report.
The prime minister’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy travelled to the USA to meet members of Trump’s team in mid-December, Downing Street confirmed to Bloomberg on Thursday.
May’s office said: “The prime minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful.”
The prime minister believes that forging a strong relationship with the Trump administration is vital, especially as the UK makes plans to leave the European Union and forge new trade deals around the world.
The pair’s relationship didn’t get off to the best of starts. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who campaigned for Trump in the run-up to the election, met the president-elect several days before May was able to arrange an introductory phone call.
When the pair did speak, Trump extended a bizarrely casual invitation to May to visit the US, telling her: “If you travel to the US, you should let me know.” She was then forced to dismiss Trump’s suggestion that Farage should be appointed as UK ambassador to the US.
Both Hill and Timothy were openly critical of Trump prior to both the Republican and May being elected. Hill tweeted in December 2015 that “Donald Trump is a chump,” and Timothy tweeted in March 2016 that “American politics was depressing enough before Trump took off.”
May has also sent senior officials, including defence and foreign policy aides, to meet with key members of Trump’s new team, which includes his son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.
Downing Street also confirmed on Thursday that May will travel to Washington to meet Trump in the spring.
“We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the Prime Minister looks forward to visiting the new president in the spring,” May’s representative said. The statement did not provide further details of her visit.
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