News US Election 2016

Saturday 21 September 2019

What special relationship? Donald Trump speaks to nine other world leaders - including Ireland's - before Theresa May

Protesters in New York march along Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower, to protest against Donald Trump's presidential victory (AP)
Protesters in New York march along Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower, to protest against Donald Trump's presidential victory (AP)

Christopher Hope

Donald Trump is yet to speak to Theresa May, despite putting in phone calls to the leaders of nine other countries, including Ireland and Australia.

The news will be a worry for the British Prime Minister, who yesterday offered Donald Trump the hand of friendship despite previously describing him as “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”.

It emerged the US President-elect has spoken to the leaders of nine other countries - Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea within 24 hours of his victory.

Number 10 could not tell reporters when - or if - a phone call was currently scheduled for Mrs May to speak with Mr Trump.

Read more: Donald Trump invites Enda Kenny to White House for St Patrick's Day

The news risks being interpreted as a snub for Mrs May. A Number 10 spokesman said he did not know when Mrs May would speak to Mr Trump.

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

He said: "The call will be scheduled for the earliest opportunity."

The Prime Minister wrote to the new US President-elect to congratulate him on his shock victory and issued a statement saying that Britain and America “are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence”.

In December 2015, Mrs May, who as Home Secretary, criticised Mr Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, describing it as “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”.

Read more: 'Trump is not my President' - Windows smashed, bins on fire as protests against Donald Trump's victory continue in several states

She also said that Mr Trump “does not understand the UK and what happens in the UK”.

Sources said Mrs May is “looking forward to the next chapter” and does not believe her previous comments will affect her relationship with the next US President.

It is also understood that the Prime Minister intends to travel to Washington DC within the next year to visit Mr Trump at the White House.

It emerged on Wednesday that Mr Trump has invited Irish premier Enda Kenny to the White House for St Patrick's Day.=

The pair spoke by telephone for 10 minutes on Wednesday night, an Irish government spokeswoman said.

he Taoiseach congratulated Mr Trump on his electoral success and both men committed to working together to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United States.

Mr Kenny’s spokesman said: “The president-elect confirmed to the Taoiseach that in the spirit of the strong ties between the two countries, the long-standing tradition of Taoisigh attending the White House for St Patrick's Day celebrations would continue and extended an invitation to the Taoiseach in that regard for next year, 2017.”

It is tradition for the Taoiseach to travel to Washington on March 17 to present the US president with a bunch of shamrocks, to symbolise close ties between the countries.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Kenny told the Irish parliament that “racist and dangerous” remarks made by Mr Trump during the election campaign were made in the “heat of battle”.

In a softening of his outspoken rebuke from May, Mr Kenny said he would be happy to work with Mr Trump.

Weeks after making the comments, when asked if he would put that view to the then presidential hopeful in any future meeting, Mr Kenny said: “Certainly. I'd be very happy to.”

He added: “I'd be happy to deal with the president in a very constructive way as he has announced to the world that his administration will work to heal the wounds in America, will work to have the American people unite and form partnerships with like-minded countries for opportunities for everybody.”

It also emerged that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with Mr Trump next week.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that their conversation "marks a very good start for building trust". Their talks are being arranged for November 17 in New York.

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