President Donald Trump claimed not to know where rumors about his trade deal with the United Kingdom originated, but Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts pointed out that it was Trump who started them in June.
Trump spoke with reporters for about an hour on Tuesday during a photo op with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and was asked whether Britain’s National Health Service should be “on the table” during trade talks.
One of the concerns British people have about a trade deal with the U.S. is that American pharmaceutical companies could weaken NHS price controls.
In 2018, Trump Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the U.S. would pressure foreign countries to raise drug prices through trade deals. And when U.S. Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson was asked about the pharmaceutical issue this past June, he said that it should be on the table during trade talks.
But when Trump was asked about it Tuesday, he had no idea what anyone was talking about, instead apparently confusing the question as an offer to extend Britain’s government-run health system to the United States.
“No, not at all, never even thought about it,” Trump said when asked if NHS should be on the table, adding “We are going to have a great health care system.”
He promised that if Republicans retake the House of Representatives, “we’ll have phenomenal health care.”
Trump has been promising a health care plan “within two weeks” since June but has not delivered one.
“Right now, we’ve made it very good, 180 million people on private plans that they absolutely love,” Trump claimed, and said that the British “have to work that out for themselves.”
“I don’t even know where that rumor started. We have 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,” Trump said.
But as Roberts pointed out on Twitter, the “rumor” started with Trump himself, who has previously said with his own mouth that the NHS would be “on the table” in trade negotiations.
“[email protected] said today he doesn’t know where the rumor came from that Britain’s National Health Service would be on the table in a new trade deal with the UK. It came from his press conference with Theresa May on June 4, 2019,” Roberts wrote.
.@realDonaldTrump said today he doesn’t know where the rumor came from that Britain’s National Health Service would be on the table in a new trade deal with the UK. It came from his press conference with Theresa May on June 4, 2019 –
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) December 3, 2019
“Should the NHS be on the table, sir?” Trump was asked in June.
“I can’t hear him. What?” Trump said.
“It’s a question about the National Health Service,” then-Prime Minister May said. “He says, ‘Should the National Health Service be on the table?’”
“Look, I think everything with a trade deal is on the table. When you — when you’re dealing in trade, everything is on the table — so, NHS or anything else. There are a lot — a lot more than that. But everything will be on the table, absolutely,” Trump said.
At no time, however, was it suggested that a trade deal with the United Kingdom would result in the replacement of the U.S. healthcare system with Britain’s National Health Service, silver-plattered or otherwise.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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