What will British Prime Minister Theresa May tell President Trump and Republicans in Congress when she visits them in Philadelphia and Washington this week? She doesn't plan to take questions from us "regional press," the British Embassy in Washington told me. They sent this statement:
May "is expected to be the first world leader to hold face to face talks with President Trump" when she meets him in the Oval Office Friday. "This will primarily be an opportunity to get to know one another and to establish the basis for a productive working relationship." They'll talk about "the most pressing global issues, notably tackling terrorism, Syria, relations with Russia and cooperation in NATO."
The two leaders "will also discuss how we can deepen our already huge economic and commercial relationship to the benefit of both of our countries, including our shared ambition to sign a U.K.-US trade deal once the U.K. has left the EU." American capital "is the single biggest source of inward investment to the U.K.."
Since May wants "strong links" with Washington as she pulls away from the European government in Brussels, she "has also been invited to become the first serving head of state or government outside the U.S. to address the annual congressional Republican retreat, when it gathers for its 30th anniversary in Philadelphia on Thursday," where GOP members will gather to talk 2017 priorities.
May's appearance "will provide a platform for the [Prime Minister] to set out how we want to advance the special relationship in the coming years and work together on a number of shared challenges."
Like what? I asked. NATO? Trade? The British referred me to last weekend's May interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr. Highlights from that transcript:
BBC: [President Trump] has called NATO obsolete.
May: No, he has shown also – I've spoken to him about NATO. NATO is very important. NATO has been the bulwark of our security here in Europe and we work together in NATO. We've both made the point before about contributions being made by countries. The United Kingdom is spending 2% of its GDP on defence. I believe that's important.
BBC: Do you agree with what he said about other NATO countries not paying their way?
May: Well, there are other NATO countries that are also paying 2% of their GDP on defence, and others that are working towards to doing that. What is important is that we recognise the value of NATO – which [Trump] does. The value of NATO as an organisation that is helping us to defend Europe and defend the interests of all of those allies who are in NATO.