Today British prime minister Theresa May will become the first foreign leader to meet with US president Donald Trump since his inauguration last week.
What to expect from their meeting has been the subject of much speculation, with both leaders trumpeting the tired tagline that it is to maintain the UK and US’s so-called special relationship.
Timeline for Donald Trump
- January 22, 2020
- July 12, 2019
One concern for Downing Street, and one many would have thought would deter the second female British prime minister, is the sexism which has surrounded Trump’s campaign and early days in office.
Comments, already infamous, made by the POTUS about grabbing women, are just one example of his actions and words that have shocked the world.
Trump’s sexism spurred more people to march in Washington for women’s rights than attend Trumps inauguration — despite what the alternative facts might say.
So why then is Theresa May the first in line to meet and greet this man?
Throughout Trump’s campaign May was critical of his comments about women, amongst other policy pledges.
However since his election she has taken a much more conciliatory tone, and has stated that despite pressure to question Trump’s approach to women she will not be broaching the subject of sexism during their talks.
Instead, she said in an interview earlier this week that they will talk about global issues, such as fighting terrorism.
To many this is will be unacceptable, not only an abandonment of women but an indication of Britain’s weakened position after it leaves the European Union.
Other women in politics have taken a firmer stance, notably German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump has mocked and gloated about governmental problems Merkel has faced for accepting hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees into Germany calling it a “catastrophic mistake”.
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Merkel has, for her part, held her line — stating in an interview with the Times and German newspaper Bild that “our fate as Europeans, I’d say, lies in our own hands”.
May has stated that her visit in itself will make a statement, arguing that being a female prime minister and the first to meet with Trump sends a message about the role of women in politics and life.
But will this win over the 2m women around the world who marched against the sexism Trump perpetuates?