Trump vows to stay out of election
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania arrive at Clarence House to meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall ahead of today’s Nato summit.
Donald Trump has insisted America wants “nothing to do with” the NHS amid fears the health service could be used as a bargaining chip in post-brexit trade talks.
The US president, speaking in London at the start of a Nato summit, claimed he would “stay out” of the general election campaign because he does not want to “complicate it”.
It comes six months after he answered a question about the NHS during a previous visit to the UK, saying: “When you’re dealing in trade, everything is on the table.”
His comments eased fears at Conservative Party headquarters that Mr Trump’s visit could derail Boris Johnson’s election campaign.
Labour has made the proposed US-UK trade deal a central theme of its campaign, and the controversial US President’s unpopularity risks contaminating the Prime Minister if their close personal relationship is put on show this week.
Mr Trump did go on to describe Mr Johnson as “very capable” and said he would be meeting the Prime Minister during his visit to the UK.
Asked if the NHS should be on the table in trade talks, the US President replied: “No, not at all, I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly.”
The president added: “I don’t even know where that rumour started. We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it.”
Mr Trump said he could “work with anybody” when asked about the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, though earlier said he thought Mr Johnson would do a “good job”.
Mr Corbyn joined leaders for a reception at Buckingham Palace last night, but the SNP’S Westminster chief Ian Blackford and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson were not expected to attend.
While steering clear of UK domestic politics, Mr Trump did ignite a fresh diplomatic row with French President Emmanuel Macron, accusing him of “insulting” Nato allies.
The US president said Mr Macron had been “very disrespectful” after he claimed in an interview that the alliance was “brain dead”.
Mr Macron’s attack followed Turkey’s incursion against the Kurds in northern Syria without warning other Nato members – a move that alarmed other allies.
“It is a very, very nasty statement,” Mr Trump said. “I think they have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all.”
The two men met later at the US ambassador’s residence, where Mr Trump acknowledged the need for greater “flexibility” in the way in which Nato responded to global threats. Mr Macron in turn accepted the US had “over-invested” in the alliance for “decade after decade” – a long-standing US complaint.
The main Nato talks take place today at the Grove, a country house hotel near Watford. The meeting is expected to consider new threats in the areas of cyber and space, after the alliance last month declared space one of its operational domains.
0 French president Emmanuel Macron met with Donald Trump