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Trump backtracks on NHS being part of post-Brexit trade deal with US after outrage

Trump backtracks on NHS being part of post-Brexit trade deal with US after outrage
Having enraged the British public and politicians by implying that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) might be on the table in the post-Brexit trade talks with the US, US President Donald Trump has made an about-face.

In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, Trump has seemingly walked back his ‘threat’ to include the NHS in the trade deal to be struck between the US and the UK, after London finalizes its very long divorce from the EU.

“I don't see it being on the table. That's something I would not consider part of trade. That's not trade,” Trump says in the teaser for the interview, to be aired Wednesday morning.

Also on rt.com ‘NHS not for sale!’: Trump provokes UK anger after saying health service ‘on the table’ post-Brexit

For much of Tuesday, however, there has been uproar over Trump’s offhand remark about the NHS being up for grabs. Speaking at a joint press conference with outgoing PM Theresa May in London, the US leader did not rule out that the arguably most cherished UK public service will be rattled during the post-Brexit trade negotiations.

“When you’re dealing with trade, everything is on the table. So, NHS or anything else,” Trump said, when asked by a journalist if the system should be a part of the future accord.

The comment has triggered a major backlash online and drew a strong rebuke from the UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour Party leader scolded May for not standing up to Trump, noting that the NHS must not be turned into a bargaining chip.

“Our NHS is not for sale,” he tweeted.

It is entirely possible however that the furor was much ado about nothing, with speculation being rife that the US leader was simply not familiar with what “NHS” stands for. 

Indeed, a video of the press conference shows that May had to come to Trump’s rescue, deciphering the abbreviation for him after he said that he could not hear the question.

Whether Trump genuinely did not catch what the reporter said, or was completely out of his depth on the issue, is up for speculation. Either way, his remarks triggered thousands.

READ MORE: Trump arrives in the UK: God help the NHS

Established after WWII, the NHS ensures all Britons received free medical care. Trump’s critics in the US, where private health care companies run the show, have advocated introducing something similar.

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