WASHINGTON, D.C. —Rishi Sunak has confirmed he will not meet presidential hopeful Donald Trump during his visit to the U.S. this week.
Asked ahead of his arrival if he would be seeing Trump, the British PM indicated he would not, adding: “I’ve got a pretty busy schedule.”
“I’m meeting key Congressional leaders from both sides and obviously the president,” he went on. “Those are the key engagements that I have.”
While predecessor Boris Johnson enjoyed a close relationship with Trump, Sunak appears more focused on engagement with the Biden administration, as the U.K. and U.S. face a host of looming challenges.
Asked about the prospect of a Trump return to the White House in 18 months, Sunak said the leaders he would be speaking to shared “universal values of freedom and democracy and the rule of law.”
The British PM held talks Wednesday with figures including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
His meetings at Capitol Hill followed a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and before an evening baseball game, where he was due to meet ex-Republican presidential candidate and Trump critic Senator Mitt Romney.
A bilateral meeting with Joe Biden at the White House is due to take place Thursday, with artificial intelligence and trade high on the agenda, alongside support for Ukraine.
Britain has already conceded a wholesale free trade agreement is off the table and Sunak is targeting narrower deals on critical minerals and digital trade.
Sunak’s apparent reluctance to meet Trump contrasts with Johnson, who dined with Trump in Florida last week during a visit to the U.S.
The pair are said to have discussed the war in Ukraine despite their differing stances on the subject, Trump having previously refused to commit to sending military aid to Ukraine if re-elected.