“I am not afraid to speak frankly to a president of the United States,” said #Theresa May ahead of her visit to Washington, and mere days after refusing to answer whether she will confront Donald Trump regarding his position on women during the Women’s March.
Ms. May should meet Trump
Make no mistake; it would be unwise for Mrs. May to turn down the opportunity to be the first to meet #trump after his inauguration. Though he has shown a less than flattering start to the rest of the world in his first week of his presidency, it would seem foolish to miss the chance to speak to one of the most powerful political figures in the world. At least, unless you're the president of Mexico.
It’s just difficult to inspire confidence in May. After all, this is the same Prime Minister that denied a clear answer on what the people of Britain voted for, calling the latest national affair a “Hard #Brexit”, not a “soft Brexit” and very much a “red, white and blue Brexit” until finally clarifying what it meant.
The Prime Minister clearly values the relationship between the UK and the US - and it’s understandable with the past of cultivating friendships and for future trade deals - but it hardly bodes well that she is unable to take a firm stance against Trump himself has to say to her.
At every opportunity that she is asked on whether she will confront Trump, May either defends him, or at most says she will speak out if she finds anything “unacceptable”.
A ‘special relationship’ of opposite ideals
It’s hard to understand exactly what shared interests there are outside of the trade deal in the “special relationship" May continues to describe.
The two countries are both in a period that is pushing for nationalism, but complimenting a man for his opinion of leaving the rest of the world behind seems counter-intuitive - urging a man to isolate himself then extending the hand of partnership surely can't make for a strong friendship or business arrangement, or not an equal one at least.
This is certainly not the popular Barack Obama smiling and playing ping pong with David Cameron. Trump is a volatile President who has advocated for torture, criticised NATO, is making connections with Putin, is vehemently against climate change and has made offensive remarks towards women.
The UK has stood against all of these - ironically making Britain sound far more pro-Europe - but May seems too eager to shake hands and too wary to oppose Trump, risking the chance for making good bedfellows.
The UK is in a difficult position with the rest of Europe, and taking a stronger stance against some of Trump's unapologetic arguments to ease him over may yet win her points with the EU.
But how "frankly" is the Prime Minister willing to be against the President of the United States when the UK is desperate to ensure good trade deals in an uncertain post-Brexit climate?
Hopefully the Prime Minister will surprise the rest of the world with a strong showing of morals as they watch her converse, with a man dangerously close to the Kremlin.