President Donald Trump joked ‘there goes that relationship’ to Theresa May after he was quizzed on his support for torture and calls to ban Muslims by the BBC’s political editor.
Challenged about his controversial views on torture, Russia, stopping Muslims entering the US and punishment for torture by Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Trump joked to Mrs May: ‘This was your choice of a question? There goes that relationship!’
As Mr Trump looked round the press pack at the White House aghast at the question, Mrs May laughed awkwardly in response.
Mr Trump looked perplexed by the question, as Mrs May tried to laugh it off
President Donald Trump joked ‘there goes that relationship’ to Theresa May after he was challenged on his controversial views by the BBC’s political editor at the press conference
Mrs May, who became the first world leader to visit the new commander-in-chief, said: ‘I have been listening to the president and the president has been listening to me. That’s the point of having a conversation and a dialogue.’
She added: ‘There will be times when we disagree and issues on which we disagree. The point of the special relationship is that we are able to have that open and frank discussion so we are able to make that clear when it happens.
‘But I am clear also that there are many issues on which the UK and the US stand alongside one another, many issues on which we agree.’
She said an ‘even stronger special relationship’ would be in the interests of the wider world.
Responding to the question on torture, Mr Trump insisted he would allow decisions to be made by his defence secretary James Mattis – who has different views on the issue.
On Russia he admitted he did not know the country’s president Vladimir Putin well, but expressed his hope for a ‘fantastic relationship’ between the two nations.
Mr Trump said he could not predict how strong a relationship he would have with other countries.
Smiling, he added: ‘Theresa, we never know about those things, do we?’
He finished by saying: ‘I will tell you one thing, I will be representing the American people very strongly.’
The BBC political editor, challenging Mr Trump at the White House today, was named British journalist of the year last year
Opening their first press conference together, President Trump said he was honoured to have Mrs May as his first foreign leader to visit
The Prime Minister became the first world leader to visit the US president at the White House, sealing their fledgling alliance with a warm handshake in the Oval Office
THE QUESTION BY THE BBC’S POLITICAL EDITOR
Laura Kuenssberg asked Donald Trump at the press conference: ‘Mr President, you’ve said before torture works, you’ve praised Russia, you’ve said you want to ban some Muslims from coming to America, you’ve suggested there should be punishments for abortion…for many people in Britain those sound like alarming beliefs.
‘What do you say to our viewers at home who are worried about some of your views and worried about you becoming leader of the Free World?’
Ms Kuenssberg’s loaded question was met with a mixed response by viewers, with some calling it ‘offensive’, while others said they were ‘proud’ of the reporter for taking a tough stance.
Henry Trant commented: ‘Simply awful from Laura Kuenssberg. She’s better than that. Her question was utterly negative when support & positivity needed.’
Frank Bukowski added: ‘Laura Kuenssberg, classic BBC, who gets the prize for the most negative question of the press conference.’
Another commentator wrote: ‘So embarrassed by @bbclaurak! Have some dignity for God’s sake!’
Another said: ‘Laura Kuenssberg was downright embarrassing.’
However the BBC political editor – who challenged President Xi Jinping over China’s human rights record during his visit to the UK – also won praise for taking on the President for his controversial views.
One commentator said: ‘Blood and sand, Laura Kuessenberg, you earned your year’s salary in a single question. Good one!’
Sarah Long added: ‘Enjoyed how perplexed & uncomfortable Trump looked at great q from @bbclaurak. His UK state visit should be fun, she was only warming up…’
James Baker wrote: ‘You can always rely on @bbclaurak to ask the hard questions! Brilliant.’
Earlier today, Mr Trump hailed the Special Relationship between the two countries as he praised the importance of a ‘free and independent Britain’ and branded Brexit ‘wonderful’ after meeting Mrs May.
The President said he was ‘honoured’ by Mrs May’s visits and that relations between the two long-standing allies had never been stronger.
Mrs May announced the Queen had invited Mr Trump for a state visit to the UK – and also signalled he had reassured her about America’s commitment to NATO.