Brexit doom-mongers step aside. After weeks of speculation, the relationship that exists between Britain and the US has just been upgraded from ‘special’ to ‘very special’. Speaking at a joint press conference, Theresa May and Donald Trump were at pains to prove they had not fallen out –as recent reports had suggested following Trump’s decision to cancel his trip to open the new US embassy in Vauxhall.
Heaping the treacle on thick, the US president dismissed such reports as ‘false rumours’ and praised the British Prime Minister:
‘We have great respect for everything you’re doing and we love your country, we think it’s truly great.’
So ‘great’ (and between them they said ‘great’ seven times in two minutes) is their relationship that the charm offensive may have proved too much for a Trump-sceptic British public. Trump claimed that he and May ‘are on the same wavelength in every respect’.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) January 25, 2018
In terms of Brexit, the press conference will be encouraging to the government. Once again the US President talked up the prospect of a post-Brexit US/UK trade deal – predicting ‘tremendous increases’ in trade between the two countries. This comes as US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said: ‘as soon as the UK is ready, we are prepared to negotiate an attractive trade deal ’.
Of course, given that the UK government is dealing with one of – if not – the most unpredictable US presidents of all time, it’s impossible to predict how this will turn out. But what today’s warm words do show is that talk of a breakdown in relations between the UK and US is greatly exaggerated.