Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: Donald Trump and Theresa May the special relationship political perfection
DONALD Trump has told Theresa May that he would like to revive the special relationship forged by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
The next US President warmly invited the British Prime Minister to the White House during his first telephone conversation with her.
A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “The President-elect talked about enjoying the same relationship Reagan and Thatcher did.”
She dismissed suggestions that Nigel Farage could act as a go-between, adding: “I don’t remember there being any third person in that relationship.”
During the election campaign, his running mate Mike Pence said: “At the very core, both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump are united in a boundless faith of the American people.”
Mrs May has also been widely compared to the last female Prime Minister due to her steely persona, her Conservative views and distinctive dress sense.
But there is a lot of work to do if Mr Trump and Mrs May really want to become as close as Mr Reagan and Mrs Thatcher during the 1980s.
As recently as last year, Mrs May said that the Republican billionaire’s comments about barring Muslims from the US were “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”.
Mr Farage, the first British politician to meet Mr Trump after his election, also said there are fences to mend because her team “has been quite rude about Trump”.
Just the day before the US election, Mrs May suggested that she disapproved of the way Mr Trump had run his controversial campaign.
She said: “I like them to be conducted in a calm and measured way with proper consideration of the issues.”
The world leaders also have opposing views on fundamental issues such as free trade, climate change, foreign policy and the ways to tackle immigration.
During Mr Reagan’s presidency from 1981 to 1989, the former President and Mrs Thatcher developed a great friendship built on trust and mutual respect.
The world leaders liked each other, sometimes danced together at state occasions and were often pictured in deep conversation at official events.
Instead of using formal language, they started their letters to each other in a familiar way with “Dear Margaret” and “Dear Ron”.
Mrs Thatcher played a key role in thawing relations between Mr Reagan and the then Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev during the Cold War.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served in Mrs Thatcher’s cabinet, said Mr Reagan trusted the Iron Lady because “he knew who she was and where she was coming from”.
“The immediate requirement, in a sense – and I don’t want to exaggerate this – but it is to try and do with Mr Trump what Margaret Thatcher did with Ronald Reagan,” he told Today.
“Margaret Thatcher was able to persuade Reagan as to the need to have dialogue with Mr Gorbachev and because she was the Iron Lady he listened to her in a way that he wouldn’t have listened to anyone else.
“The issues are different at the moment. The issues at the moment are Mr Trump’s rather dismissive comments about NATO.”