U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters as he arrives to appear with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a fundraising event in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, U.S., Many 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar(reuters_tickers)
By Michael Holden and Susan Heavey
LONDON/WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Friday that British Prime Minister David Cameron had asked him to visit, but a UK spokesman said no invitation had been extended.
The apparent crossed signals were the latest sign of tension between the presumptive Republican Party nominee and the leader of a major U.S. ally, who has criticized Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Trump, in a morning interview with MSNBC, said Cameron extended the invitation to visit 10 Downing Street two days ago and that he "might do it." He gave no other details.
A spokesman for Cameron's office said it was a longstanding practice for the prime minister to meet with the Republican and Democrat presidential nominees if they visited Britain.
"Given the parties have yet to choose their nominees, there are no confirmed dates for this," the spokesman said.
However, a Downing Street source said a formal invite would not be sent out to presidential candidates.
Trump's comments followed a transatlantic exchange between the two men over Cameron's criticism.
In December, Cameron called Trump "divisive, stupid and wrong" and suggested Trump would unite Britain against him if he visited the United Kingdom.
After Trump clinched his party's nomination this month, Cameron acknowledged the achievement but said he stood by his earlier comments and would not apologise.
Trump fired back this week, saying on Monday that he was likely not to have a good relationship with Cameron. But the next day he said he expected to have "a good relationship" and on Friday Trump said Cameron had invited him to London.
"I will do just fine with David Cameron. I think he's a nice guy. I will do just fine," Trump told MSNBC. "But they have asked me to visit 10 Downing Street - and I might do it."
Cameron has said he will work with the winner of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election and is committed to maintaining the special U.S.-UK relationship, his spokesman has said.
Trump's proposed ban also drew criticism from Sadiq Khan, who was elected mayor of London this month and is the first Muslim to hold the post. Khan said last week that Trump’s "ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe."
(Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Michael Holden in London; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)