May’s Date to Make Up With Trump in Davos Is Said to Be on Ice
(Bloomberg) -- Theresa May’s hopes of thawing frosty relations with Donald Trump at a meeting on the slopes of Davos next week look to be fading, according to people familiar with the matter.
With Anglo-American relations coming under strain, the British prime minister’s team wanted to schedule a catch-up conversation between the two leaders during the annual World Economic Forum gathering in the Swiss resort.
Yet it now seems the pair will only overlap in the town for a few hours, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are confidential.
There’s still a chance that the president and the prime minister will manage to meet for a brief conversation, though coordinating their diaries is proving extremely difficult, they said.
The attempt at diplomatic outreach follows a tricky period in the so-called “special relationship” between the U.K. and the U.S, which was most recently tested over Trump’s decision to scrap a planned visit to London last week.
The president tweeted he won’t be opening of the new U.S. Embassy building in February, a decision that left May’s team confused. He claimed he didn’t like the deal to sell the old building and didn’t approve of the new location, to the south of the Thames river.
Some British officials speculated that Trump might be annoyed at reports that he won’t be invited to Prince Harry’s wedding to the actress Meghan Markle.
May has also advised Queen Elizabeth II to invite Trump on a “state visit” -- the highest honor the U.K. can give a foreign leader -- but he has so far not set a date. Amid warnings that any such trip will spark street protests, the growing sentiment is that he may never make the trip across the Atlantic.
The prime minister tried to play down the difficulties on Wednesday. “We have a special and enduring relationship with the United States,” May told lawmakers in the House of Commons. “I’m not responsible for invitations to the royal wedding.”
May’s relationship with Trump has been troubled since his election victory, with arguments over anti-terror measures, intelligence leaks, and a very public clash over the president’s re-tweeting of a far-right anti-Muslim activist.
May’s office has not officially confirmed that she’s attending Davos but British officials said she would be there. She is listed as a speaker on Jan. 25.
Even if they don’t meet on neutral ground in Switzerland, May and Trump will find a way to speak soon, one of the people said.
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