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Donald Trump visit: What we have learned so far

UK News | Published:

Having trouble keeping up with the US president’s stance on political issues? Here is a handy guide to Mr Trump’s latest thinking.

Never a man to stick to the script, Donald Trump’s visit to the UK has already been peppered with revelations, petty feuds and the usual dose of chest-beating.

Here is what we have learned about Mr Trump’s current world view over the last few days.

– Trump loves Nato

The US president has long complained that America pays too much into Nato and reportedly mulled over leaving the organisation completely but, having apparently single-handedly increased other signatories’ contributions by 130 billion dollars, it seems he is now a big fan.

Nato leaders pose for a photograph during the annual summit
Nato leaders pose for a photograph during the annual summit (Steve Parsons/PA)

– Trump is not happy with Emmanuel Macron

Now he is in Team Nato, Mr Trump cannot take the French president’s recent comments that the organisation is “brain dead” lying down.

“It is a very, very nasty statement,” he said, adding: “You have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all.

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“They have had a very rough year. You just can’t go around making statements like that about Nato.”

Nato Leaders Meeting
Emmanuel Macron is in Donald Trump’s firing line for describing Nato as ‘brain dead’ (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA)

– Trump is spoiling for a trade war

The US president has threatened France with a raft of taxes on its imports in response to its proposed financial services tax – something Mr Trump seems to consider an affront to national pride.

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He said: “I’m not in love with those companies, Facebook and Twitter and Google – although I do pretty well with Twitter – but I’m not necessarily in love with those companies.

“But they’re our companies, they’re American companies, I want to tax those companies. They’re not going to be taxed by France.”

He threatened to tax French wines “and everything else”, including engineering giant Airbus.

The FTSE slumped to its lowest level in two months in the wake of the revelations.

– Trump does not want the NHS

Mr Trump has apparently forgotten remarks he made this summer that “everything should be on the table” in post-Brexit trade talks with the US, including the NHS.

President Trump state visit to UK – Day Two
President Trump does not want the NHS, despite claims he made during a press conference with Theresa May in the summer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Trump backs Johnson

Perhaps wary of any allegations of meddling, the US president has vowed to stay out of the UK elections, saying: “I don’t want to complicate it.”

But he added Boris Johnson was “very capable and I think he will do a good job”.

When asked if he could work with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he said: “I can work with anybody. I’m a very easy person to work with.”

Although he later added: “I know nothing about the gentleman.”

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson
Donald Trump said he thought Boris Johnson was ‘very capable’ (Steve Parsons/PA)

Despite being photographed together on several occasions, the US president claimed he is not an acquaintance of the royal.

“I don’t know Prince Andrew but it’s a tough story. A very tough story,” he said.

– Trump defeated Islamic State

Putting aside any involvement from Kurdish forces on the ground, Mr Trump is taking credit for the defeat of Islamic State (IS).

“We’ve defeated the Isis caliphate, nobody thought we could do that so quickly. I did it very quickly. When I came in it was virtually 100% (of Syria) and I knocked it down to zero,” he said.

He also played up the killing of Isis leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and boasted: “We have the oil, and we can do with the oil what we want.”

– Trump wants a “good” climate

An ardent climate change sceptic and still intent on pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, Mr Trump was apparently less dogmatic with nature-loving Prince Charles.

Nato Leaders Meeting
Donald Trump ‘totally listened’ to the Prince of Wales’s climate concerns over tea at Clarence House (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Trump said: “He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate as opposed to a disaster, and I agree.

“I did mention a number of things, I did say the United States right now has among the cleanest climates.”

– Trump has issues with Trudeau

The US president  accused Justin Trudeau of being “two-faced” at a press conference on Thursday over Canada’s financial contribution to Nato.

Mr Trump said: ”Honestly, with Trudeau he’s a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy.

“But you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 per cent, and I guess he’s not very happy about it.”

His comments came after footage of leaders – including the Canadian PM and Mr Johnson – emerged in which they appeared to mock Mr Trump at a Buckingham Palace reception.

The US President went on to cancel a further scheduled press conference to return to Washington DC early, claiming he had already done “so many” in the past two days.

– Trump enjoyed the trip

As he left the UK on Wednesday evening, the President tweeted a one-minute video featuring highlights of his two-day visit.

They included meeting world leaders at the Nato summit and his encounter with The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Alongside the footage, he wrote: “Thank you @NATO! #NATOLondon”

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