MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has taken four international trips in the past five months ahead of a likely presidential run, said Wednesday that from now on he’s not going to talk about his private meetings with world leaders.
Speaking on a conference call during a trip to Canada, Walker said his discussions with leaders that don’t take place in front of reporters will be “treated privately.”
Walker’s comments came after he was asked about reports British Prime Minister David Cameron disputed his portrayal of a private conversation the two men had at Downing Street in February.
“Going forward, I’m just not going to comment on individual meetings I have with leaders like that, be it there or anywhere else,” Walker said.
Walker led a trade mission to London in February that he said was focused on drumming up business for companies in Wisconsin, not presidential politics. He initially said little about his conversation with Cameron, but later he started dropping references to it when speaking to donors and fellow Republicans.
On Friday, at a meeting in Utah organized by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Walker told Republican donors that Cameron had told him he was concerned about President Barack Obama’s leadership.
A spokesman for Cameron, first to Time magazine on Friday and to The Associated Press on Wednesday, refuted that description of their conversation.
“The prime minister did not say that and does not think that,” a spokesman said Wednesday, on condition of anonymity in line with British government policy.
Walker said he will acknowledge when he meets with foreign officials, and talk generally about the strength of relationships, but he won’t say more unless the meeting is at an open news conference.
“What I learned best from that is I should leave discussions like that, that aren’t in front of the media, to be treated privately,” Walker said.
In addition to the London trip in February, and the Canadian trade mission that concludes Wednesday, Walker also traveled to Europe in April and in Israel in May.
Walker did not allow reporters to accompany him on the trip to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also did not take questions from the Israeli media while there.
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