WASHINGTON, DC —Rishi Sunak has confirmed he will not meet with President hopeful Donald Trump during his visit to the United States this week.
Asked before his arrival whether he would see Trump, the British prime minister replied that he would not, adding: « I have quite a busy schedule. »
« I’m meeting with key congressional leaders from both sides and obviously the president, » he continued. « These are the key commitments I have. »
While predecessor Boris Johnson enjoyed a close relationship with Trump, Sunak appears more focused on engaging with the Biden administration as the UK and US face a number of looming challenges.
Asked about the prospect of Trump returning to the White House in 18 months, Sunak said the leaders he would speak to shared « universal values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. »
The British prime minister held talks on Wednesday with figures including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
His meetings on Capitol Hill followed a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and before an evening baseball game, where he was scheduled to meet with former Republican presidential candidate and Senator Mitt Romney, a critic of Trump.
A bilateral meeting with Joe Biden in the White House is scheduled for Thursday, with artificial intelligence and trade high on the agenda, along with support for Ukraine.
Britain has already admitted that a wholesale free trade deal is out of the question and Sunak is targeting tighter deals on critical minerals and digital trade.
Sunak’s apparent reluctance to meet with Trump contrasts with Johnson, who dined with Trump in Florida last week during a visit to the US
The pair are said to have discussed the war in Ukraine Despite their differing positions on the subject, Trump had previously refused to pledge to send military aid to Ukraine if re-elected.