Well, I predict a riot if she tries steer on, and I mean a riot inside her own party, inside the Parliament amongst her own members of Parliament. I think it was Trump just being nice, actually. To be honest, he played nice most of the time. I know people don’t want to hear this, but he actually did all right. His trousers didn’t fall down in front of the queen, he didn’t knock over the soup, and he was, generally speaking, on point. He was actually not as haltingly ineloquent as he very often is. There were fewer malapropisms. So I would think he could probably count the trip as a success so far.
He did make one major blunder in Manila, I don’t know if you quite got the importance of it. He claims not to have heard of Michael Gove, who’s one of Mrs. May’s successors, who’s running for the job of Prime Minister. Now, he claimed in public at the press conference that he didn’t know him. But the very same Michael Gove spent hours with him in the Oval Office interviewing him for the London Times, with Rupert Murdoch in attendance. So that’s a bit of an embarrassment for Mr. Gove, if not for Mr. Trump.
But he did say something about the putative trade deal. Of course, that deal has to be agreed by those sides. He said that everything had to be on the table. But he also said that the deal would double, maybe triple, trade between Britain and the United States. Well, only a fool would not want that. You’ve got quite a big surplus on your side.
$5 billion or so.
Yes, it’s $5.4 billion.
[crosstalk 00:01:58] So, I mean-
The U.K. is America’s seventh largest trading partner. It’s $5.4 billion, you know, based on the rest of the world, isn’t that huge of a gap. We’re sending more to you than we’ve received. So if there is the hard Brexit, like Trump is hoping for, what sort of deal would you want to see, George?
Well, I mean, I’m not, myself, a great advocate of what they call free trade. If you put free in something, in front of something, it doesn’t necessarily make it good.
There’s always a catch, isn’t there?
You know, the Free Syrian Army. There is here, I mean, the word free motherhood, apple pie, it’s tossed around a lot. But as long as we have the kind of economic system we have, I want free trade with everybody. And that includes the United States. And I’d love the United States to be buying more of our things. And that could only be a good thing.
And so the trade deal negotiations will, if they founder at all, founder on the idea, as I mentioned to you yesterday, that our vital public services can be privatized and sold off to U.S. companies. No one will ever accept that. That would become the front line of the next British general election, and anybody advocating it would not win that election.
You know, George, I want to touch on a bit of breaking news here. Just moments ago, Reuters reported that Nigel Farage is currently meeting with President Trump right now at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in London. We know that they’re old friends. What do you think is the goal of this meeting?
Well, Farage is a big player now in British politics. He’ll probably win another sensational election victory on Thursday of this week. He already leads the biggest party in the whole of the European Parliament, and, easily, the biggest British party in the European Parliamentary elections. In the national opinion polls, even though, often, his party’s not actually proffered as an option, he’s in second place and some cases, in first place. So Trump would be a fool not to meet him. And contrary to appearances often, I don’t think Trump actually is a fool.
You know, yes, contrary to popular belief. Also, Jeremy Corbyn reached out to the president as well. He asked for a meeting. Trump told the press that he declined. Why do you suspect he did that?
Well, Jeremy Corbyn, to please the crowds, that probably was just amongst there, has been hurling insults at the President of the United States. Most of which I agree with. But it’s probably not politic or wise for the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition and the man that wants to be Prime Minister in a few weeks or months to be doing so. And so Trump obviously took the decision that, he’s not going to meet me privately when he refused to meet me publicly, and has instead been calling me every name under the sun. As have his subalterns. Obviously, there’s a balance to be struck here.
You’re an opposition left wing leader, and Donald Trump is a right wing government leader-
… from the United States. My own view, I’m not sure Corbyn got the balance exactly right.