The UK and the USA have always maintained that they enjoy a “special relationship” – but, in January, many were shocked when Prime Minister Theresa May was filmed walking hand in hand with President Donald Trump down a ramp at the White House.
Footage of the surreal moment quickly spread around the world, and May was criticised in some quarters for seeming passive next to a man who has bragged about invading women’s personal space. The Labour MP Harriet Harman described “that handholding thing” as “disastrous, because it looked like he was leading her along.”
However, in a new interview with US Vogue, May has spoken out about the incident for the first time – and she’s reassured us that there’s a far more innocent explanation.
Prepare your eye rolls now, folks, because Trump was apparently just “being a gentleman”.
Laughing, May told her interviewer: “I think he was actually being a gentleman. We were about to walk down a ramp, and he said it might be a bit awkward.”
She went on to explain that she and Trump enjoyed one another’s company, adding: “I like to think we got on. I mean, obviously he has, uh . . . it was a stunning election victory, in that he’s someone who has not been involved in politics.”
However, when it came to revealing what she and Trump had spoken about during her visit to the States, May was less forthcoming.
“Well, I don’t . . . ,” she said. “We don’t comment on private conversations that take place. All I would say is, I’ve been very clear: I’m not afraid to raise issues. And the nature of the relationship is such that we should be able to be frank and open with each other.”
It’s worth remembering that, before Trump was elected, May slammed him for his “unacceptable” comments about women. Perhaps, then, this was the issue she chose to raise with him during their time cloistered in the White House.
Earlier this year, May was accused of poking fun at Trump, singling out one of his biggest insecurities during a speech at the Black and White Ball.
Yes, we are, of course, referring to his smaller than average hands.
According to the Telegraph, the Prime Minister stood to rapturous applause, and smiled as she said: “Thank you very much for that wonderful reception.
“I don’t think I have received such a big hand since I walked down the colonnade at the White House.”
During the Vogue interview, May also talked about her relationship with her husband, Philip, and comparisons made between her and Margaret Thatcher’s government.
“There can only ever be one Margaret Thatcher. I’m Theresa May. I do things my way,” the PM said firmly.
May also addressed the controversial issue of her salary (she admitted she’s paid £142,000 a year) and “trousergate”, in which her choice of a pair of trousers worth £1,000 for an interview sparked a backlash.
“Look, throughout my political career, people have commented on what I wear,” said May, when asked if she had been surprised by the public’s reaction to her clothing choices. “That’s just something that happens, and you accept that. But it doesn’t stop me from going out and enjoying fashion.
“And I also think it’s important to be able to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes.”
Images: Rex Features