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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Trump Signs Executive Order on Voter Fraud Claims; British Prime Minister Speaks with GOP Leaders; Trump Lays Out Agenda At Republican Retreat; In Spat Over Wall Pena Nieto Cancels Trump Meeting; Trump Insists U.S. Will Not Pay For Mexico Border Wall; British Prime Minister To Speak With Republican Leaders; Fox Has Questioned If Trump Is A "Legitimate President". Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 26, 2017 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Jonathan Mann in for Hala Gorani live from CNN Center. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Thanks for joining us. Donald Trump says the time for all talk and no action is over. Just a short time ago, the U.S. president laid out an
ambitious agenda for his new administration, in front of a friendly crowd.
Addressing Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia, promising everything from tax reform to new trade deals. But one of the biggest
headlines involves what Mr. Trump says he will not do, after heated back and forth with Mexico over who will pay for a new border wall, Mr. Trump
essentially uninvited Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to the White House next week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for
next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different
route. We have no choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: There's a lot going in the world today. Let's break it down with CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, joining us
live from New York. Christiane, how dramatic a diplomatic incident is this for a first-time president in his first week in office?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it is dramatic. On the face of it, it is very dramatic because here you have
a much-anticipated bilateral visit. It would have been the second foreign leader to meet Donald Trump as president after the British Prime Minister,
And of course, on an issue that Trump campaigned so heavily on, during the, you know, run-up to the election, on the wall, on deportations, on
immigration and particularly on NAFTA.
And what seems to have happened is that just yesterday, as the advanced guard, if you like, the officials from Mexico were meeting in the White
House, with aides, to try to, you know, nail down what was going to happen on the Pena Nieto visit, that's when Donald Trump announced that there
would be the wall and that, you know, Mexico would have to pay for it, and this and that.
So it created a huge storm inside Mexico and essentially, by nightfall, President Pena Nieto was forced to do a video message on Twitter, and, you
know, he had a lot of pressure domestically, saying that Mexico cannot be treated like this. We have to maintain our dignity.
And in the end, in the end, he decided, perhaps not to go, and then there was this statement from President Trump, but it was actually quite
diplomatic, in a way, because he said it was a mutual decision. Leaving a crack of a door open, in case there's a route to both sides stepping back
and figuring out how to reschedule this visit.
MANN: Well, can they -- can either men back down now?
AMANPOUR: Well, they're going to have to. I mean, they're going to have to, because this is a major, major relationship. This is, you know, one of
the closest relationships that the United States and Mexico has, with any other country. They are neighbors.
And everybody knows that your trade, your foreign policy, your security, all those relationships with your nearest neighbors are amongst the most
And, they're going to have to figure out a way around this, because both sides will be hit on multiple levels, if it breaks down, on trade,
obviously, on the economy, as you know, it's so interrelated, the economy, integrated sly chains, the whole NAFTA deal.
But also remember that Mexico plays a very important part in stopping, as much illegal immigration -- you know, there's a net negative. There's a
net outflow of Mexicans back from the United States. But central Americans have been coming in. Mexico has been stopping that.
The whole drug war, the whole greater security, you know, compliance that both countries have together. All of that is at risk for the United
States, if this becomes, you know, a crisis, a full-blown crisis.
And for Mexico, what's at stake is obviously the economy. Its export-based economy is, you know, based around NAFTA. So if this all breaks down, both
sides will be hit very, very severely.
MANN: Now, Christiane, while we're talking, President Trump is just returning now from a speech he gave to Republican lawmakers in
Philadelphia. You're looking at live pictures from Joint Forces Base Andrews outside of Washington.
President Trump completing his first round trip on Air Force One. Getting used of the trappings of office and seemingly enjoying himself.
[15:05:09]But Christiane, I want to talk to you about the style of this new presidency, the style of this new diplomacy, because you've got to sense,
this is something very different.
This seems to be a kind of high-stakes, take-it-or-leave it approach to international affairs, being practiced on America's closest allies, whether
it's on NAFTA or the Transpacific Partnership, or in NATO, for that matter.
AMANPOUR: Look, you're absolutely right, and I spoke to a former senior administration official under the Clinton administration, who's now editor
of "Foreign Policy" magazine, David (inaudible), he basically has said that in these seven days in office, nearly seven days, President Trump has
created more foreign policy change than at any other time since the end of World War II.
In other words, so much has been done, enacted, suggested, tweeted, executive ordered, et cetera, that it really is causing quite a lot of
angst. At the same time, this is very crucial, Jonathan, the establishment, the governing establishment is not fully in place.
Certainly not in the foreign policy and national security realms, as you know. Many of the second tier have not been even named, much less in
office. Most of the cabinet members have not yet been confirmed.
You just saw what happened at the State Department today, partly a pro forma mass resignation of appointees from a different administration, to
make room for new appointees.
But also, partly, a resignation by people, I'm told from inside, who simply didn't want to be part of this administration's foreign policy. So that's
a big deal. Who's governing? Who's managing?
And you can see that there's a lot of freelancing going on. This could be very, very difficult. I'm told both Jim Mattis, who is confirmed, and the
CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who is also confirmed, were blindsided what Trump told just an interviewer, and that is, we're going to bring torture
What about black sites? All of those things that America had thought it had put to bed and put to rest because they just didn't work. So this is -
- these are very, very difficult days for people to parse, certainly overseas, as they're looking in to see what foreign policy will be
MANN: Christiane, we have Elise Labott at the State Department now. And Elise, I want to ask you, 24 hours ago, the president was telling an
interviewer that for sure, Mexico would pay for the wall. Now the president of Mexico isn't even willing to come into this country. Do
people at the State Department have whiplash trying to follow all of this?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: They do, John. And I think what's happening is like, you don't have senior leadership, the
secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is really not here. There's no senior staff.
And so everybody's really kind of just watching the television, reading the newspaper, watching what's going on. There's very little coordination
between the White House and the State Department right now.
So they're really just kind of watching this runaway train, with a lot of anxiety about what diplomacy is to come. My understanding the from the
Mexican delegation coming over is that they were very anxious, with all this rhetoric coming from the president, about Mexico, about, you know,
driving a hard bargain, and America first.
Those officials, those ministers were coming over with a kind of Mexico- first approach, that they said, listen, you want to re-evaluate the relationship, you want to renegotiate NAFTA, you want to talk about how we
can change the nature of our cooperation together? Fine! Let's go at it.
But it better be to a way that is going to benefit Mexico, as well, and I think what officials -- what diplomats at the State Department and around
the world are thinking is that, listen, if this president wants a totally new approach, if he wants to reopen relationships that have been based on
years of cooperation, working together, and, you know, painstaking diplomacy, in diplomacy, they call it tending the garden, this is going to
upend what they've all processed.
So the U.S. may not, you know, really be ready for what is in store, if the U.S. is going to reopen all of these relationships, the end result may not
be exactly what President Trump plans.
MANN: We'll be watching, Elise Labott. Christiane, before you go, I just want to ask you, the president said in his address to Republican lawmakers
in Philadelphia today that the world has taken advantage of us for many years. It's not going to happen anymore. Essentially rhetoric of America
as a victim. How does that resonate around the world and how is it going to impact other relationships?
AMANPOUR: Well, Jonathan, it doesn't resonate well or credibly, because America is still the world's superpower. The only superpower, with the
best, the most powerful, the biggest military in the world, with the biggest economy in the world, with the best alliances in the world, with
the NATO military alliance, the most successful in the history of humankind, in the world, and has kept the peace.
[15:10:04]And by the way, has been fighting terrorism, as we all know, since 9/11, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. So it doesn't really resonate in
that way, this victimhood, this sort of woe is me, sort of description of America.
But, obviously, there are areas where the United States does need to get more, for instance, out of its NATO partners. Everybody knows that the
United States has been asking for years for NATO partners to step up and pay their 2 percent or whatever it is, in order to be part of NATO.
That is something that has to happen. Some countries have done it. Others need to do it. But the idea that NATO is just a, you know, a dollars and
cents relationship, and not one that benefits the U.S., as much as it benefits the rest, is not one that is based in reality. So this is very,
Plus, Jonathan, this is also going to be very, very dramatic for the U.S. if there are a succession of trade wars, and a succession of vacuums left
by America pulling back from world leadership, then others will step in.
You know, the physics dictum that nature abhors a vacuum, where in politics and geopolitics, it certainly does abhor a vacuum. And if the United
States pulls back, others will pull in. And China has made it very clear that it would love to step in, where the TPP is being pulled out.
It would love to step in, in many other areas, in many other parts of the world, if the United States is going to, you know, abdicate leadership
there, which Donald Trump laid out that precise cause of discarding the cloak of leadership of the free world, he did that during his inaugural
MANN: There's a lot at stake here, we keep saying. Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, thanks very much.
What we alluded to a moment ago, British Prime Minister Theresa May is in the U.S., trying to rekindled the famed special relationship between the
U.S. and U.K. She's in Philadelphia, meeting with those Republican leaders we've been talking about.
Now, with on Friday, she is to become the first foreign leader to visit President Trump. One issue will be at the top of the agenda, trade. Diana
Magnay explains why.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just one week on the job, and President Trump is already promising a complete reversal of U.S. trade
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Great thing for the American workers, what we just did.
MAGNAY: Protectionism, his guiding mantra, the recovery of American jobs. A complete shake up of more than half a century's efforts to liberalize
global trade, and to facilitate the movement of goods between states and trading blocks.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's going to be only America first, America first.
MAGNAY: But on Friday, he'll meet with Britain's Theresa May, who is looking to refashion the special relationship now she's taking Britain out
of the E.U. So how will America first marry up with her vision of a global Britain?
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We want to get out into the wider world, to trade and do business all around the globe.
MAGNAY (on camera): Bear in mind that Theresa May can't sign any new trade deals until Britain leaves the E.U. And she needs to keep the E.U. on side
in order to strike the best Brexit deal possible. That means that talk on trade with the U.S. will likely be vague at best.
IAN MITCHELL, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: I guess the government is thinking from the prospective of introducing new frictions
with the E.U, it would be helpful if it could reduce some of the frictions with the U.S. and other countries. And I guess that's why the U.S. has
emerged as an early priority in discussions.
MAGNAY (voice-over): Frictions like, say, the trade in pharmaceuticals. They're the U.K.'s biggest export to the U.S., worth $9.7 billion in 2015.
But President Trump has his own thoughts on drugs and he wants them homemade.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous.
MAGNAY: So where will that leave Theresa May? Torn between the U.S. on the one side and the E.U. on the other. Future exports in limbo as the
global trading juggernaut shift gears. Proximity matters less than it used to, but it still matters.
The E.U. is Britain's closest market, and it will likely remain its most important market, however the Brexit negotiations go. Any trade deal with
the U.S. will also take a long time to negotiate, at least two or three years after Britain Brexits.
So however much President Trump says he would like a deal to happen quickly, unless he wins a second term, he may not be around to see it
through. Diana Magnay, CNN, London.
MANN: The prime minister is also arriving in the U.S. with criticism ringing in her ears. Lawmakers in the U.K. urging her to stand up to
President Trump on some of his more controversial views.
Let's get the bigger picture now with our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, in Washington on this.
[15:15:03]Nic, how badly does Theresa May need Donald Trump's help and the help of the Republican lawmakers that she's going to be addressing any
minute now? I mean, how badly does the government of the United Kingdom need Washington's help to navigate its way through Brexit?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, part of it is a sort of deepening and broadening of the special relationship, as we've
already been talking about. So, that's certainly the conversations that they should be able to have, perhaps in the margins at the Republican
retreat, are going to be able to dig deeper into some of the broader issues that she'd like to address.
But how much does she need the meeting with President Trump right now? She needs it a lot. She wants to walk away with a firm understanding and a
strong declaration publicly, as she can get, from President Trump, that Britain can cut a trade deal with the United States, swiftly, after Britain
leaves the European Union, which means putting in the groundwork now.
But she needs the sort of -- that clear declaration of intent at this time, because she needs to show the British people that the trade relations and
the economy can be strengthened with the United States after Britain leaves the European Union concerns there.
And also, as she goes into those talks with the European Union. There were 27 different countries represented, who will each have a view on how the
negotiations should go and she wants to be able to say, look at me. I've got the backing of the United States in this.
This puts me in a better position. It's not little Britain all alone. This is me in the United States. So there's that at stake for her here.
But as you say, there's a lot else going on in this relationship right now.
MANN: Does the United States hold all the cards right now? Is she in my position to push Trump on the issues that matter back home, whether talking
about NATO or the Iran deal or torture or climate change or, is he basically in a position to push her, because she needs his cooperation, his
vote of confidence, and potentially that trade deal down the road?
ROBERTSON: You know, I suspect this is something that she's asking herself right now, Jonathan. Let's look at this. When she got on the plane to
come to the United States, the Mexican president was due to follow on her heels early next week.
And she's seen that in the sort of first international diplomatic Twitter spat that we've seen, we've talked in the past about how President Trump
during his campaign, had used Twitter to sort of drive the narrative.
Well, he uses it today to send a message to the Mexican president, if you feel that way about paying for the wall, then don't come, and the Mexican
president tweets back, I'm not going to come then essentially.
That's unfolded while Theresa May has been in the air flying here. So the calculation for here therefore is, OK, she wants something from President
Trump, but how much should I tell him about all the other things that I'm being told back home and by the European Union and by NATO as well that we
need to address.
As we know, President Trump has said that he thinks NATO is obsolete, he's ambivalent about the future of the European Union, that he wants to move
more swiftly to develop a better relationship with President Putin in Russia, and to all of those things, Theresa May has another view.
Now is she really going to gamble that outcome that she wants about trade against that? You know, the object lesson for her, getting off that plane
is, well, you know, if you do that, then maybe the conversation won't go your way. It's not diplomacy at all. That seems to be the lesson today.
MANN: Chief international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, thanks very much. We will bring you Prime Minister Theresa May's address to U.S.
lawmakers. She's expected to start speaking in just over 20 minutes from now. Stay with us for that.
Still ahead on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, I'll talk to a fierce critic of Donald Trump's border wall, the former Mexican president, Vicente Fox.
MANN: Welcome back. If not a breakdown, it certainly is a low point in relations between Mexico and the United States. Mexico's president calling
off his visit to the White House. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump's border wall. He joins us now live
from Mexico City.
Mr. President, thanks so much for being with us. Can you remember a time when things have been this bad between Mexico City and Washington?
VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: Maybe 50 years ago, it was so bad. When Pancho Villa had to cross the border, because of the conflict that we
had with the United Nations, but it's been over the hundred years that we have enjoyed an excellent relationship.
And so, let's make it very clear. Mexico will not pay for the wall. President Pena has stated very clear. It's not true what Trump is saying
that it was an agreement to cancel the visit.
It is an apparent stand on the side of Enrique Pena Nieto and on the side of 120 million Mexicans. We are now carrying flags and we're ready to
defend our nation.
MANN: Do you have a sense, though, that it's the U.S. president who's driving events and Mexico's president finds himself a prisoner of them?
FOX: Well, that much and that far, yes. When I saw today's gathering of the Republican Party retreat, and Trump being there reminded me of Hitler
addressing the Nazi party. And I think it's important to remind, to congressmen from the Republican Party that above all, on their
responsibilities, their own conscience --
MANN: I'm going to interrupt you. Forgive me. You are comparing the current U.S. president to a man who exterminated millions of people,
FOX: Not in that sense. I'm comparing him in the sense of the way he is a populist, everything that he said in this retreat was pure populism, making
America great, first. Number two, when he says jobs for everybody, what he says business for everybody, I mean, his declarations and tweets and his
And yes, I want to remind that a congressman is obliged with this conscience to make decisions. He doesn't have to accept what this guy is
imposing to them.
MANN: Mexico is a proud and sovereign country, but in its relationship with the United States, we're talking about very, very unequal relations.
Is there anything Mexico can do to either stop the wall or prevent President Trump from taxing remittances or taxing exports in a way that
forces Mexico to pay for the wall?
FOX: Let me tell you, it's not that unequal, the trade balance shows that we trade about $500 billion U.S. every year. We buy half of that and we
sell half of that so we are a reliable partner.
Just take the automobile industry. We export $40 billion U.S. worth of assembled finished cars in Mexico to United States. But United States
exports to Mexico $41 billion U.S. worth of finished cars, luxury cars, of agricultural equipment, of mortars, on our part.
So if he pretends to impose a 35 percent tax on cars coming from Mexico, be sure that Mexico will impose a 35 percent tax on all those exports that the
United States is doing.
[15:25:14]This is a lost, lost situation for both of us. We're going crazy. That's why we appeal to Republican Party, appeal to Republican
congressmen, to think about where this guy is taking the nation, taking the U.S. economy, and is taking Congress.
MANN: Mr. President, as you're speaking, we're looking at new video from Air Force One, as the president was making his way back, from giving that
most recent speech in Philadelphia. But I listened very closely to what you're saying. Let me ask you, how does this get resolved? The U.S.
president says Mexico will, absolutely, pay for the wall. The Mexican president says it will absolutely not. How do you move things forward?
How does this get negotiated?
FOX: There are two choices. One is that this guy tempers himself, controls himself, adapt to the situation, that today he's president, not a
businessman, to forget about his authoritarian positions or choose somebody has to be different.
Because the friendship between United States and Mexico, I would say, is total. Our neighborhood is strong on that border. We work out together to
bring order to it.
And finally and most important, as I said, we trade equal to equally. We benefit both of our nations through that. It's crazy to move outside of
that. It's crazy what he's saying every day.
MANN: Mr. President, I'm going to interrupt you. Forgive me. I've just been told that moments ago, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, told
reporters that while traveling aboard Air Force One, and we just showed our viewers the video of the president aboard Air Force One, U.S. President
Trump says he wants to impose a 20 percent tariff on products coming in from Mexico. That literally, we have just learned this at this very
moment. What do you think the impact of that will be?
FOX: As I said, 20 percent on imported cars to the United States, Mexico will put a 20 percent tax immediately for imports coming from United
States. It's a 250 billion worth of exports. Ask any governor in the United States, ask any state how these relationships, how much it benefits,
trading with Mexico.
In many of U.S. states, the trading is supervised on the U.S. side. Nobody wants to get rid of this. This crazy idea that Trump brought by, which is
out of any good economic sense.
MANN: Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, thank you so much for talking with us.
FOX: Gracias. Good luck!
MANN: This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Coming up, we are expecting to hear from British Prime Minister Theresa May in just the next few minutes in
Philadelphia. She'll be speaking to Republican leaders. A lot at stake. Stay with us.
[15:30:47] JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. We're still keeping an eye out for British Prime Minister Theresa May. She's in the United
States, expected to speak to Republican leaders in the next few minutes from this podium in Philadelphia. She's also, and perhaps more
importantly, scheduled to meet with President Trump on Friday, becoming the first foreign leader to do so.
Mr. Trump is, in the meantime, expected to sign an executive order anytime now that would open an investigation into what he calls massive voter
fraud. He has repeatedly said that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election, but he hasn't provided any evidence for his widely debunked
Let's bring in Josh Rogin, a CNN political analyst and a columnist for "The Washington Post."
Thanks so much for being with us. Can you explain this to me and to everyone around the world within the sound of your voice? Is this as
random, arbitrary, and unfounded as it seems?
JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, it's as random and arbitrary and unfounded as it seems. There's simply no evidence of any
widespread voter fraud. And now we're going to have the President of the United States opening an investigation using U.S. taxpayer resources to
prove a claim that's already been thoroughly debunked, that has no basis in fact, and that is intentionally meant to undermine the very foundations of
It's unprecedented. And in the best-case scenario, it's just a simple waste of money. And then, the worst-case scenario, it's actually a sign
that the President continues to want to undermine the credibility of the election well into this year.
MANN: Why is he doing it?
ROGIN: Well, I think we've seen a pattern, in the first week of this administration, of the President simply unwilling to admit that he's wrong
about anything, at any time, for any reason. This played out in the current and ongoing dispute with the Mexican President over whether or not
they had agreed to build a wall, whether or not they had agreed to cancel the meeting, whether or not the intelligence agencies had found evidence of
Russian hacking into the U.S. election, and 20 other things that I could mention.
You know, President Trump simply has a strategy and a personality of insisting on whatever he happens to have said is right, despite evidence,
facts, inputs. And there doesn't seem to be a team of people around him that's willing to or able to stop him from giving into these sort of
tangents. And, you know, we have to also entertain the possibility that he simply just has a lack of the discipline needed to stop him from making
MANN: Well, he's also doing this in a very particular way, which is, over the last few days, we have seen a flurry of executive orders. If he
thought there was a problem, he might, in the case of voter fraud, ask his Attorney General designate to look into it, ask officials of the Justice
Department to look into it. Instead, we're going to get the drama of another executive order.
And I'm wondering if all of these executive orders really amount to real activity and real achievement, or just a flurry in front of the cameras.
ROGIN: No, I think they do. The executive orders do have some significance. It remains to be seen whether or not he'll be able to
implement them in the face of opposition, especially from Congress, in some cases, from members of his own party.
I mean, it's ironic in the sense that, as a candidate, President Trump railed against President Obama's use of executive orders. Now, what the
Trump administration would say is that, these executive orders undo those executive orders. But a lot of these that are coming out are just simply
too vague or too broad or too controversial to really guess as to whether or not they're going to be implemented in any real way.
But each one of them begins a discussion, in fact, a fight, over these previously settled issues -- torture, Guantanamo Bay, CIA black sites, and
the list goes on and on. So each one of these is a shot across the bow, and I fully expect the Trump administration to pursue implementation of all
these executive orders. And I fully expect people, both inside and outside the government and Congress, to fight as hard as they can to make sure that
they don't become a reality.
MANN: Josh Rogin from "The Washington Post," thanks very much.
ROGIN: Thank you.
[15:35:01] MANN: And once again, we're waiting on British Prime Minister Theresa May, who's expected to speak to Republicans in Philadelphia any
She has a few priorities on this trip. The first thing, talking of a trade deal, an essential for May, in a post-Brexit world. She has crossed the
Atlantic with criticism ringing in her ears, lawmakers pushing for her to confront President Trump on his controversial ideas. She says she will be
frank with the new President.
One topic she may be forceful on is the issue of torture. May spoke to journalists on her way to the U.S., saying the U.K. condemns torture, and
that, whatever President Trump has to say, won't change.
With a closer look on what we can expect May's message to bring, let's bring in Quentin Peel, associate fellow with the Europe Programme at
Chatham House, live from London at this hour.
Thanks so much for being with us. What are you expecting her to say?
QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW WITH THE EUROPE PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, she wants to reinvigorate the special relationship between Britain
and the U.S. I think that's going to be her message today, and I suspect that will be her message with Donald Trump.
She really wants to wave the flag to say, just because I'm turning my back on the European Union doesn't mean that I'm turning my back on the world.
We've got a very special relationship with the United States, and we can have a trade deal, and we can have a very close security relationship.
And the only difficulty for her is that I'm not sure that message is going to go down that well, back in Britain and back in Europe.
MANN: Well, let me ask you about that. She clearly wants a very good working relationship with the Trump administration. How much support would
she have for that in Parliament and among her own voters?
PEEL: Well, I think that people are very cautious about what Donald Trump is going to do and if he's going to do what he says. So, on the trade
front, it's going to be America first. So is it going to be a good trade deal for Britain, if there's a trade deal between the two countries?
And on the security front, he says, NATO is obsolete. Well, NATO is very important to Theresa May. She really wants to demonstrate that the British
government is a very firm partner in NATO, even if it's leaving or wants to leave the European Union.
So on both those scores, she's got some, probably, pretty tough talking to do to Donald Trump, and she doesn't know how he's going to react.
MANN: Does she have any -- well, let me put it this way. Donald Trump wrote a book, literally called "The Art of the Deal." He likes to bargain
from a position of strength. Is she in that position now?
PEEL: No, I fear she's not. She needs something like a trade deal with the U.S. so that she can turn to the British voters and turn to her
European partners and say, I don't need you. We are really out there in the big wide world.
And the problem is this. One, her trade with the United States, Britain's trade, is only a third of its trade with the European Union --
MANN: Quentin, forgive me. I'm going to interrupt you. We are now going to go live to Philadelphia --
PEEL: Oh, OK.
MANN: -- and the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: OK. Thank you. Thank you.
Well, thank you very much for that fantastic welcome and, can I say, Majority Leader McConnell, Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the Senate
and representatives of the House.
I would like to thank Congress and the Congressional Institute for the invitation to be here today. The opportunity to visit the United States is
always special. And to be invited to be the first serving head of government to address this important conference is an honor indeed.
I defy any person to travel to this great country at any time, and not to be inspired by its promise and its example. For more than two centuries,
the very idea of America, drawn from history and given written form in a small hall not far from here, has lit up the world. That idea, that all
are created equal and that all are born free, has never been surpassed in the long history of political thought.
MAY: And it is here, on the streets and in the halls of this great city of Philadelphia that the Founding Fathers first set it down, that the textbook
of freedom was written, and that this great nation that grew from sea to shining sea was born.
[15:40:09] Since that day, it has been America's destiny to bear the leadership of the free world and to carry that heavy responsibility on its
shoulders. But my country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has been proud to share that burden and to walk alongside
you at every stage.
MAY: For the past century, Britain and America, and the unique and special relationship that exists between us, have taken the idea conceived by those
56 rank and file ordinary citizens, as President Reagan called them, forward. And because we have done so, time and again, it is the
relationship between us that has defined the modern world.
One hundred years ago this April, it was your intervention in the First World War that helped Britain, France, our friends in the Commonwealth, and
other allies, to maintain freedom in Europe.
MAY: A little more than 75 years ago, you responded to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by joining Britain in the Second World War and defeating
fascism, not just in the Pacific but in Africa and Europe, too.
MAY: And later in the aftermath of these wars, our two countries led the West through the Cold War, confronting communism and ultimately defeating
it, not just through military might but by winning the war of ideas and by proving that open, liberal, democratic societies will always defeat those
that are closed, coercive, and cruel.
MAY: But the leadership provided by our two countries through this special relationship has done more than win wars and overcome adversity. It made
the modern world. The institutions upon which that world relies were so often conceived or inspired by our two nations working together.
The United Nations, in need of reform but vital still, has its foundations in this special relationship, from the original declaration of St. James'
Palace to the declaration by United Nations signed in Washington, and drafted themselves by Winston Churchill and President Franklin D.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, born in the post-war world of Bretton Woods were conceived by our two nations working together. And
NATO, the cornerstone of the West's defense, was established on the bonds of trust and mutual interests that exist between us.
Some of these organizations are in need of reform and renewal to make them relevant to our needs today. But we should be proud of the role our two
nations, working in partnership, played in bringing them into being and in bringing peace and prosperity to billions of people as a result.
MAY: Because it is through our actions over many years, working together to defeat evil or to open up the world, that we have been able to fulfill
the promise of those who first spoke of the special nature of the relationship between us -- the promise of freedom, liberty, and the rights
We must never cease, Churchill said, to proclaim, in fearless tones, the great principles of freedom and to the rights of man, which are the joint
inheritance of the English-speaking world, and which, through magna carta, the bill of rights, the habeas corpus, trial by jury, and to the English
common law, find their most famous expression in the American declaration of independence.
[15:45:04] MAY: So it is my honor and privilege to stand before you today, in this great city of Philadelphia, to proclaim them again, to join hands,
as we pick up that mantel of leadership once more, to renew our special relationship, and to recommit ourselves to the responsibility of leadership
in the modern world.
And it is my honor and privilege to do so at this time, as dawn breaks on a new era of American renewal.
For I speak to you not just as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but as a fellow conservative, who believes in the same principles that underpin
the agenda of your party -- the value of liberty, the dignity of work, the principles of nationhood, family, economic prudence, patriotism, and
putting power in the hands of the people. Principles instilled in me from a young age. Principles my parents taught me, in the vicarage in southern
England in which I was raised.
And I know it is these principles that you have put at the heart of your plan for government. And your victory in these elections gives you the
opportunity to put them at the heart of this new era of American renewal, too.
President Trump's victory, achieved in defiance of all the pundits and the polls, and rooted not in the corridors of Washington but in the hopes and
aspirations of working men and women across this land. Your party's victory, in both the Congress and the Senate where you swept all before
you, secured with great effort and achieved with an important message of national renewal.
And because of this, because of what you have done together, because of that great victory you have won, America can be stronger, greater, and more
confident in the years ahead.
MAY: And a newly emboldened, confident America is good for the world. An America that is strong and prosperous at home is a nation that can lead
abroad. But you cannot and should not do so alone.
You have said that it is time for others to step up and I agree. Sovereign countries cannot outsource their security and prosperity to America, and
they should not undermine the alliances that keep us strong by failing to step up and play their part.
MAY: This is something Britain has always understood. It's why Britain is the only country in the G-20, other than yours, to meet its commitment to
spend 2 percent of GDP on defense and to invest 20 percent of that in upgrading equipment.
MAY: It is why Britain is the only country in the G-20 to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on overseas development. It is why my
first act as Prime Minister last year was to lead the debate in Parliament that ensured the renewal of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent. And
it is why the government I lead will increase spending on defense in every year of this Parliament.
MAY: It is why Britain is a leading member, alongside the United States, of the coalition working successfully to defeat Daesh, why we have agreed
to send 800 troops to Estonia and Poland as part of NATO's forward presence in Eastern Europe, why we are increasing our troop contribution to NATO's
Resolute Support Mission that defends the Afghan government from terrorism.
And it is why we are reinforcing our commitment to peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, south Sudan, and Somalia. And it is why Britain is leading the
way in pioneering international efforts to crack down on modern slavery, one of the great scourges of our world, wherever it is found.
MAY: I hope you will join us in that cause, and I commend Senator Corker in particular for his work in this field. And it's good to have met him
As Americans know, the United Kingdom is, by instinct and history, a great global nation that recognizes its responsibilities to the world. And as we
end our membership of the European Union, as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year, we have the opportunity to
reassert our belief in a confident, sovereign, and global Britain, ready to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.
[15:50:21] We will build a new partnership with our friends in Europe. We're not turning our back on them or on the interests and the values that
we share. It remains overwhelmingly in our interests, and in those of the wider world, that the E.U. should succeed. And for as long as we remain
members, we will continue to play our full part, just as we will continue to cooperate on security, foreign policy, and trade once we have left.
But we have chosen a different future for our country. A future that sees us restore our Parliamentary sovereignty and national self-determination.
MAY: And to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit. A future that sees us take back control of the things that matter
to us, things like our national borders and immigration policy and the way we decide and interpret our own laws, so that we are able to shape a
better, more prosperous future for the working men and women of Britain.
A future that sees a step up with confidence to a new, even more internationalist role, where we meet our responsibilities to our friends
and allies, champion the international cooperation and partnerships that project our values around the world, and continue to act as one of the
strongest and most forceful advocates for business, free markets, and free trade anywhere around the globe.
This is a vision of a future that my country can unite around, and that I hope your country, as our closest friend and ally, can welcome and support.
So as we rediscover our confidence together, as you renew your nation just as we renew ours, we have the opportunity, indeed, the responsibility, to
renew the special relationship for this new age.
We have the opportunity to lead together again because the world is passing through a period of change. And in response to that change, we can either
be passive bystanders, or we can take the opportunity once more to lead, and to lead together. I believe it is in our national interest to do so
because the world is increasingly marked by instability and threats that risk undermining our way of life and the very things that we hold dear.
The end of the Cold War did not give rise to a new world order. It did not herald the end of history. It did not lead to a new age of peace,
prosperity, and predictability in world affairs.
For some, the citizens of central and eastern Europe in particular, it brought new freedom. But across the world, ancient ethnic, religious, and
national rivalries, rivalries that had been frozen through the decades of the Cold War, returned. New enemies of the West and our values, in
particular, in the form of radical Islamists, have emerged.
MAY: Countries with little tradition of democracy, liberty, and human rights, notably China and Russia, have grown more assertive in world
affairs. The rise of the Asian economies, China, yes, but democratic allies like India, too, is hugely welcome. Billions are being lifted out
of poverty, and new markets for our industries are opening up.
But these events, coming as they have at the same time as the financial crisis and its fallout, as well as the loss of confidence in the West
following 9/11 and difficult military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, have led many to fear that, in this century, we will
experience the eclipse of the West. But there is nothing inevitable about that.
Other countries may grow stronger. Big, populist countries may grow richer. And as they do so, they may start to embrace more fully our values
of democracy and liberty.
But even if they do not, our interests will remain. Our values will endure. And the need to defend them and project them will be as important
[15:55:00] So we, our two countries together, have a responsibility to lead because when others step up as we step back, it is bad for America, for
Britain, and the world.
MAY: It is our interests, those of Britain and America together, to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests, and the very ideas in
which we believe. This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past.
The days of Britain and American intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we
afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must strong, smart, and hard headed. And we
must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
And whether it is the security of Israel in the Middle East on the Baltic States in eastern Europe, we must always stand up for our friends and
allies in democratic countries that find themselves in tough neighborhoods, too.
MAY: We each have different political traditions. We will sometimes pursue different domestic policies. And there may be occasions on which we
disagree, but the common values and interests that bring us together are hugely powerful. And as your foremost friend and ally, we support many of
the priorities your government has laid out for America's engagement with the world.
It is why I join you in your determination to take on and defeat Daesh and the ideology of Islamist extremism that inspires them and many other
terrorist groups in the world today. It is in both our national interests to do so.
This will require us to use the intelligence provided by the finest security agencies in the world, and it will require the use of military
might. But it also demands a wider effort because one of the lessons of fighting terrorism in the last 15 years or so is, yes, killing terrorists
can save innocent lives. But until we kill the idea that drives them, the ideology, we will always have to live with this threat.
MAY: And as they are defeated on the ground, the terrorists are exploiting the internet and social media to spread this ideology that is preying on
vulnerable citizens in our own countries, inspiring them to commit acts of terror in our own city cities. That is why the U.K. has led the world in
developing a strategy for preventing violent extremism, and why the British and American governments are working together to take on and to defeat the
ideology of Islamist extremism.
I look forward to working with the President and his administration to step up our efforts still further in order to defeat this evil ideology. But,
of course, we should always be careful to distinguish between this extreme and hateful ideology and the peaceful religion of Islam and the hundreds of
millions of its adherents, including millions of our own citizens, and those further afield who are so often the first victims of this ideology's
And nor is it enough merely to focus on violent extremism. We need to address the whole spectrum of extremism, starting with the bigotry and
hatred that can so often turn to violence. Yet ultimately, to defeat Daesh, we must employ all of the diplomatic means at our disposal. That
means working internationally to secure a political solution in Syria, and challenging the alliance between the Syrian regime and its backers in
When it comes to Russia, as so often, it is wise to turn to the example of President Reagan who, during his negotiations with his opposite number,
Mikhail Gorbachev, used to abide by the adage, "Trust but verify."
[15:59:58] MAY: With President Putin, my advice is to engage but beware.
MAY: There is nothing inevitable about conflict between Russia and the West and nothing unavoidable --