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Behind the scenes: Theresa May's Trumpian mission

Donald Trump and Theresa May walking together
Photo: Stefan Rousseau-WPA Pool/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to change Trump's mind on Europe during his visit to London late last week. She was on a mission to vividly explain to Trump — using examples that would resonate with him — that Britain helps create, not destroy, American jobs.

Behind the scenes: Before he addressed the black tie dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday night, May's team arranged for Trump to have a private audience with more than a dozen leaders of British companies, including BP, that do significant business in America.

  • In May's speech at the dinner she listed states where Trump won and named British companies creating jobs in those states.
  • A source at the dinner said the statistics May rattled off — including that British companies were responsible for at least 1 million jobs in America and that Britain had the most foreign direct investment in the U.S. of any country in the world — "seemed like it was news to Trump."

The bottom line: At the next day's lunch at the Prime Minister's country estate, Chequers, Trump told the Brits he wouldn't have guessed Britain was the biggest foreign direct investor and that it was responsible for so many jobs in America. Progress of a sort, after that interview.

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