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Why Theresa May’s gift to Melania Trump has been branded “sexist” by female politicians

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
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Theresa May, Donald Trump and Melania Trump

Prime Minister Theresa May’s presents for the Trumps have been described as being a “lazy act of sexism” – here’s why…

In case you’ve been avoiding the bad news: Donald and Melania Trump are in the UK. Their visit comes just days after the US President’s “nasty” comments about Meghan Markle – not that we needed any further evidence to prove that he’s sexist towards successful and powerful women.

Unsurprisingly, the controversial couple haven’t received the warmest of welcomes for their three-day stay. Protests are taking place across the country throughout the visit, with ‘baby Trump blimp” expected to make a triumphant return at the mass demonstration in London on Tuesday (4 June).

But the Royal Family and Prime Minister are maintaining their traditional stately duties. On Monday, the Queen welcomed the Trumps at Buckingham Palace before attending a state banquet with them in the evening. The following morning, Trump met with Theresa May at Downing Street.

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Ensuring that the couple received a more pleasant welcome than what has been happening in the streets of London, May presented the Trumps with a gift each. However, her choice in presents have now been called out for being sexist by fellow politicians.

So what exactly did she give them?

Melania Trump tea set
Theresa May gave Melania Trump an Emma Bridgewater tea set

The President, who is said to be a big admirer of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was presented with a framed typescript draft of the Atlantic Charter agreed by Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in 1941. It was a poignant reminder of the value of preserving international rules on trade and diplomacy. Pretty cool, right?

Meanwhile, the First Lady took home a…tea set. In May’s defence, it was a bespoke Emma Bridgewater tea set.

Women’s Equality UK candidate Harini Iyengar has responded saying: “Like the state visit itself, these gifts are inappropriate. Giving Melania Trump – a businesswoman & entrepreneur who can speak 4 languages – a tea set is lazy sexism. It is hard to imagine Bill Clinton being offered a tea set…if Hillary Clinton had won.”

LibDem MP Jo Swinson added: “While we should be relieved at there being at least one civilised thing in the White House, it does seem patronising that President Trump, despite all evidence to the contrary, is treated like a student of history while his wife gets the kind of present people used to give schoolgirls.”

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Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler also said: “Theresa May has once again been exposed for her outdated belief that there are ‘boys roles’ and ‘girls roles’. Melania, as well as being first lady, is a successful and independent businesswoman in her own right, and deserves a more meaningful and thoughtful gift, especially given her Yugoslavian heritage which is historic and noteworthy.

“Besides, Melania is married to one of the most divisive and unpleasant men in modern history – so at the very least she will need something stronger than tea.”

Addressing the criticism about the “lazy” sexist gifts, Downing Street responded saying that both presents had been carefully chosen and the tea set is “a memento of a visit to No 10 as part of what we hope will be a successful state visit”.

Images: Getty

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