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President Donald Trump is on a state visit to the United Kingdom and has been going through the routine attached to any such visits. However, President Trump being who he is, there is no dearth of controversies over some of his statements. There has already been a certain unpleasantness created over his tweets on the Mayor of London and his refusal to meet with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. He added to these by mentioning in one of his meetings that the National Health Service (NHS) will also figure in the comprehensive trade discussions that are going to be held soon. He seemed to make amends later saying he was referring to trade and NHS may not strictly fall into the definition of ‘trade’.
Trump on Brexit and the Deal with EU
True to his style, the US President had a lot to say on the issue that has rocked the United Kingdom for the past few weeks, Brexit. He made a comment that if he had a say, he would have sued the EU over the deal that is at the centre of all the political turmoil the island nation is going through. He appears to have advised the PM, Teresa May to go the legal route. The PM acknowledged as much, in her speech, but since she will not be in the scene come June 7, she could not say more. She felt the negotiated settlement was good enough and whoever succeeds her will be able to carry it forward; however, President Trump did praise PM May a lot.
Unnecessary Confusion on the NHS
President Trump had to face some questions on the trade deal between the USA and the UK. He responsed by saying that once the Brexit issue is out of the way and the UK is free from those obligations, a deal will be brokered between two of the oldest and strongest allies and trade partners. However, he mentioned that the NHS would also be part of the trade negotiations. The UK, for the most part, does not support the NHS being included in any negotiations on trade. Probably, the President’s advisers must have briefed him as he corrected his stand in a later television interview.
President Donald Trump used this occasion to interact with some of the possible contenders for the post of British PM after Prime Minister May leaves office on June 7, either personally or over the telephone. He did however mention that he did not know Michael Gove, the Conservative Party leader.
The POTUS and the First Lady leave for Ireland next.