LONDON (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump called the relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. “the highest level of special” during a joint news conference Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The two leaders spoke after meeting at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate.
“I want to thank you for the honor of visiting the United Kingdom, a special place,” Trump told May at the news conference. “My mother was born here. It means something maybe just a little bit extra, maybe a lot extra. We had a wonderful visit.”
The president said May is “doing a fantastic job” as British prime minister and said “I think she’s a terrific woman.”
His comments are in sharp contrast to an interview with a British tabloid where Trump criticized May for not following his Brexit advice.
He said the way she is proposing to break from the European Union might hurt the U.S.-U.K. trade relationship. But on Friday, the president said he trusts May.
“The only thing I ask is that she work it out so that we can have very even trade because we do not have a fair deal with the European Union, right now, on trade,” he said.
When asked about the interview, Trump said, “I didn’t criticize the prime minister. I have a lot of respect for the prime minister.”
May praised the bond between the U.S. and the U.K., but said “it is all of our responsibility to ensure that trans-Atlantic unity endures.”
The two appeared to agree on many issues, although have differing views on immigration.
“I do not think it’s good for Europe and I don’t think it’s good for our country,” Trump said.
“Over the years, overall immigration has been good for the U.K.,” she said. “Of course, what is important is that we have control of our borders.”
When asked what he hopes to accomplish in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Trump said they would be talking about Ukraine, Syria and other parts of the Middle East as well as nuclear proliferation.
“I’m not going in with high expectations but we may come out with surprising things,” Trump said. “Relationship is very important.”
The president also said he would bring up Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The joint news conference at May’s country retreat was far removed from massive demonstrations against Trump’s policies.
“Everything he stands for is against my moral code,” said protester Laura Babb.
Queen Elizabeth later welcomed the president and First Lady Melania Trump Friday for a formal tea at Windsor Castle.
Trump will end his day with a trip to his Turnberry golf club course in Scotland.