Ups and downs in the special relationship during the May-Trump years

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Donald Trump’s state visit will mark the latest chapter in the US president’s turbulent relationship with the UK and Theresa May.

Here are some of the key events:

– January 2017

Theresa May becomes the first foreign leader to meet the president for talks just a week after his inauguration and they are pictured in Washington holding hands as they walked.

In a joint press conference at the White House, the pair hail the US-UK “special relationship” and Mrs May says Mr Trump has accepted an invitation from the Queen for the president to make a state visit to Britain later that year.

Theresa May meeting Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, becoming one of the first world leaders to meet him following his inauguration (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A row erupts between the US and British authorities after sensitive information was leaked to American news outlets in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Two days later, Mrs May says Mr Trump has made it clear the leaks were “unacceptable”.

– June 2017

The Prime Minister condemns Mr Trump’s Twitter attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the London Bridge atrocity. Mr Trump had mocked Mr Khan for saying there was “no reason to be alarmed” over armed police on the streets of the capital.

– September 2017

Mrs May delivers a rebuke to the US president after he claimed the Parsons Green Tube bomber was “in the sights” of Scotland Yard. The Prime Minister said: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

– November 2017

Downing Street and the White House fall out after the president shared an anti-Muslim videos posted online by far-right group Britain First.

In response to a Downing Street rebuke, Mr Trump told the Prime Minister “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive radical Islamic terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom”.

– December 2017

American ambassador Woody Johnson expresses his desire to have the US president at the opening of the country’s new embassy on London’s South Bank in January.

– January 2018

The US president says he has cancelled plans to travel to the UK to open the embassy, and hit out at the location of the project.

– February 2018

Mr Trump uses the NHS as an example of why universal healthcare should not reach US shores, claiming it was “going broke and not working”.

– March 2018

The response from Mr Trump is initially ambiguous after Russia is blamed for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury but the White House later states it “stands in solidarity” with the UK and joins Western allies in expelling diplomats.

– May 2018

Mr Trump, defending US gun laws, claimed a London hospital was “like a war zone” because of the rate of stabbings in the capital. “They don’t have guns, they have knives,” he said.

– July 2018

The president arrives in the UK for a working visit and immediately lobs a political hand grenade at Mrs May by criticising her approach to Brexit negotiations and lavishing praise on Boris Johnson – saying he would be a “great prime minister” – just days after the Leave campaigner walked out of her Cabinet.

Donald Trump takes the hand of Theresa May as they enter Blenheim Palace
Donald Trump takes the hand of Theresa May as they enter Blenheim Palace (Will Oliver/PA

Mrs May later revealed Mr Trump’s advice on negotiating Brexit was to “sue the EU”.

During the visit, Mr Trump was again spotted holding the Prime Minister’s hand as they attended a banquet at Blenheim Palace.

– November 2018

Mr Trump says the draft Withdrawal Agreement reached by the UK and EU setting out the terms for Brexit damaged the chances of a UK-US trade deal.

– March 2019

The president said he was surprised how badly Brexit has been handled and warned that another referendum would be “unfair”.

Speaking during a visit to the White House by Irish premier Leo Varadkar, Mr Trump said “I’m not sure anybody knows” what was happening with Brexit.

– May 2019

The president said Mrs May was “a good woman, she worked hard” after the Prime Minister was forced to set out the timetable for her exit from Number 10.

Just days before the visit Mr Trump praised Nigel Farage – whose Brexit Party helped inflict an electoral humiliation on Mrs May’s Tories earlier in the same week – and Boris Johnson, frontrunner in the race to replace the Prime Minister.

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