- President Donald Trump praised UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his “great WIN” in the general election, even though Johnson spent the whole campaign avoiding him.
- Johnson and Trump have enjoyed a cosy relationship and praised each other in the past, but Johnson asked Trump not to intervene in the election and largely avoided being pictured with him at this month’s NATO summit.
- Johnson was likely avoiding Trump as his Conservative Party faced probing questions about whether the National Health Service (NHS) would be on the table in trade talks – which Trump said can now take place.
- Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn shared confidential government documents days before the summit that he said showed the NHS was “up for sale” in talks with Trump and the US.
- Trump is unpopular in the UK, but Trump has repeatedly praised and defended Johnson, including calling him a “friend.”
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President Donald Trump praised UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his landslide win in Thursday’s UK general election, even though Johnson spent the whole campaign avoiding Trump.
Trump tweeted early on Friday morning, after Johnson’s Conservative Party secured its biggest election victory since 1987: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN!”
He said that victory for Johnson meant a trade deal could be struck between the UK and the US as Johnson had campaigned on his commitment to getting the UK to leave the EU.
He wrote: “Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT.”
“This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!”
But Johnson and his party were plagued by concerns that such a trade deal could include the National Health Service (NHS), the country’s prized nationalized healthcare system. Trump had previously said during a visit to the UK in June that it would be “on the table” in trade talks, leading to outcry.
Johnson then largely ignored Trump at the NATO summit that took place in London less than two weeks before the election.
The pair spoke at the December summit, but Johnson avoided a question about why the pair were not being photographed together during the meeting, saying that he would be in a photograph with all of the leaders.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had mounted the biggest challenge to Johnson, had shared just days before the summit 451 pages of confidential government documents that he said showed the NHS was “up for sale” in talks with Trump.
Corbyn also said that the documents showed UK drug prices – which are currently far less than in the US – “will be a key consideration going forward.”
The UK’s Observer newspaper also reported on December 8 that millions of NHS patients’ data had been sold to US pharmaceutical companies and elsewhere.
Trump is unpopular in the UK, and his visits to the country have sparked protests. Recent YouGov polling found that more than two-thirds of people in Great Britain, which does not include Northern Ireland, have a negative opinion of Trump.
But Trump has also called Boris Johnson a “friend” and tweeted support of him in the face of criticism at home in the UK and across the EU.
In July, Trump said that people were calling Johnson “Britain’s Trump.”
And while Johnson has taken some stances that have angered Trump – including backing a tax on big tech companies – he has also praised Trump back.
In June, Johnson said that Trump has “many, many good qualities.”
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