Davos WEF
Davos WEF

Trump seeks to 'correct' a 'false rumor' about his relationship with UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Key Points
  • President Trump tries to highlight the strength of his relationship with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • A recent report described the two leaders as having a "dysfunctional" dynamic.
  • The president and May meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 25, 2018.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to reassure British Prime Minister Theresa May and the international media how strong the "special relationship" is between the U.S. and U.K.

The two had a face-to-face meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"The prime minister and myself have had a really great relationship, although some people don't necessarily believe that," Trump said. "There's a little bit of a false rumor out there, so I just wanted to correct it, frankly."

The president was likely referring to a Bloomberg story published earlier this week, describing a "dysfunctional relationship" between the two world leaders. According to Bloomberg, May finds it almost impossible to hold phone calls with Trump because he talks over her, while the president feels May should be able to do more to quell expected protests that are standing in the way of Trump's desire to pay a state visit to the U.K.

Tensions between the two were not on display in Davos, however.

"I have great respect for everything you're doing," Trump told May. "We love your country. We think it's truly great."

Trump then highlighted the longstanding trade and mutual defense pacts between the two nations, telling May, "There's nothing that would happen to you, that we won't be there to fight for you."

May was more reserved, telling Trump, "We're facing the same challenges across the world and, as you say, we're working together to defeat those challenges and to meet them."

The prime minister has publicly broken with the president several times during Trump's first year in office, including an episode just two months ago, when May publicly rebuked Trump for tweeting out anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British political fringe figure.

Not surprisingly, Trump hit back, tweeting directly at May, "don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom."

Trump tweet

The tweet Trump released after Thursday's meeting, however, struck a very different tone than he had in November. "Great bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, affirming the special relationship and our commitment to work together on key national security challenges and economic opportunities," the president wrote.