When Air Force One flew out of the UK, it would not have been surprising if the sighs of relief at No 10 had been audible all the way to Trafalgar Square.
In less than 48 hours, Donald Trump had been less than polite to the French president, he had accused the Canadian prime minister of being “two-faced”, and he had arrived late for the Buckingham Palace reception. But he had also been successfully manoeuvred out of any public appearance a deux with Boris Johnson, he had managed not to say anything that could have been interpreted as interference in the general election, and – an almost miraculous bonus – he had called off his final news conference on the grounds that he had already held enough.
Trump had another present for the prime minister, too. Speaking before the opening of the Nato summit that was the reason for his visit, Trump categorically denied that the United States had designs on the British health service. The US would not want it, he said – in response to Labour’s charges that the Conservatives were putting the NHS up for sale – even if it were offered “on a silver platter”.
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