Theresa May arrives in the USA
Following a turbulent end to 2016 heads of state across the West are now starting to settle the political climate and bring some stability by outlining their plans for 2017 and beyond.
The worlds media have been reporting extensively on President Trump’s first days in office, mainly on the executive orders that he has executed since his inauguration early in January. Trump has so far signed orders re-instating a ban on US aid going towards foreign charities that assist in abortion, an order which instructs Congress to begin building his infamous border wall on the US-Mexican border and an order to resume building the hugely controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines which run through Native American sacred land.
It’s not been a hugely successful beginning to his reign and reports have also today emerged stating that Trump pressured the head of the US National Park Service to produce further pictures of his inauguration possibly showing bigger crowds than attended. The park chief confirmed that he received a phone call from Trump amidst allegations that he has become ‘obsessed’ with countering media claims that President Obama’s inauguration in 2012 attracted a much bigger crowd.
Arriving in a literal storm in Philadelphia yesterday, Theresa May delivered a keynote speech to Republican party grandees to a standing ovation, underlining the shared values between the Conservative Party in the UK and the Republican Party in the US. She also evoked memories of the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan as she spoke of the shared values of the two countries.
Due to meet the President in the Oval Office today, Theresa May was forced to wade in to further controversy following Trump’s remarks seemingly supporting the use of torture in interrogation of terrorist suspects by intelligence services. May re-affirmed the UK’s stance that British intelligence will not collaborate with agencies known to use torture, causing a possible rift with the President before she’s even met him.
Trump also managed to anger almost the entirety of Mexico by doubling down on his claims that they would pay for his wall ‘100%’. Following a series of tweets apparently goading the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto the Mexican premier cancelled a planned meeting between the two and once again said that Mexico would not pay for the wall.
As May heads in to some of the most difficult and complicated negotiations in generations it’s certainly a controversy she could do without as she tries to appear strong despite being in a terrible bargaining position with the US as the UK plans to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc. It should certainly make for an interesting trip.