Theresa May meets Donald Trump: What the US press is saying

She sees the US President as her 'global ace in the hole', but will their meeting deliver on the PM's hopes?

UK Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during the Congress of Tomorrow, Republican Member Retreat, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on January 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. British Pri
Theresa May speaks in Philadelphia ahead of her meeting with Donald Trump
(Image credit: This content is subject to copyright.)

Theresa May has set out her vision of how Donald Trump's United States and a post-Brexit UK could work together to "shape the world".

Speaking ahead of today's much-anticipated meeting with Trump, the Prime Minister told Republican leaders in Philadelphia she and the President could work well together as "sometimes opposites attract".

The two countries have a "joint responsibility to lead", she added.

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However, the PM also flagged a shift in the relationship, suggesting it would be nothing like the one between Tony Blair and George W Bush.

"The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are decisively over," she said.

May also used her speech to warn Trump not to trust Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She said: "When it comes to Russia, as so often it is wise to turn to the example of President Reagan who, during negotiations with his opposite number Mikhail Gorbachev, used to abide by the adage 'trust but verify'.

"With President Putin, my advice is to engage but beware."

May today becomes the first foreign leader to meet Trump since his inauguration.

It's a big test for both parties: for the Prime Minister, it's a chance to prove the UK can make trade agreements in a post-Brexit world; for the new US President, it's a test of whether he can bring his much-vaunted business skills to relations with the rest of the world.

Unsurprising, the US media is watching closely.

"May seems to see Trump as her global ace in the hole, her counterweight to the European Union. She has been making nice to him," New York Times columnist Roger Cohen says.

However, he says the PM's vision of a post-Brexit "Global Britain" is nonsense, "a Trump-size whopper", and what she really has on her hands is "Parochial Britain" - a country that has turned its back on an extremely favourable organisation to chase shadows in the wind.

"If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means," Cohen adds, resurrecting May's own words at the Conservative Party conference last October.

The Washington Post takes a similarly sceptical view of the Prime Minister's ambitions, saying that while both leaders have common ground in being "catapulted to power on the back of populist shocks in 2016", the UK shouldn't expect too much from the new US administration - particularly as it follows "an awkward series of actions by Trump that could easily be read as snubs", such as his meeting with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

"British analysts say May is deluding herself if she thinks Trump is the partner Britain needs to ensure its safe landing outside the EU," the Post writes.

USA Today, meanwhile, says that while the duo are aspiring to be "the 2017 version of '80s power couple Reagan-Thatcher", they're unlikely to have the same personal chemistry.

"I have no doubt that both Trump and May are going to come out of this meeting and say everything is wonderful because they are both quite lonely out there at the minute," Quentin Peel, a political expert at Chatham House, tells the newspaper.

"She has few friends because of her determination to push ahead with Brexit. And Trump is also, quite deliberately, alienating the world with his 'America first' talk."

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