The first thing to note is trade deals are not in the President’s gift.
All free trade agreements have to be approved by both houses of the US Congress.
Although the President subsequently rowed back on his words he is right to say that Theresa May’s Brexit plans have lessened the chances of a deal.
As soon as the Prime Minister signed up to mirroring EU standards and regulations she removed the main incentive for the US to sign a free trade agreement with the UK.
There is no commercial advantage for US agricultural and health firms trying to enter the UK market unless they can undercut existing standards.
Which raises the question of whether UK would ever want to sign up to a deal that allowed the import of US chlorinated chicken or homone-enriched beef and gave US firms access to the NHS.
We know that Tory MPs are in frequent contact with US political allies about Brexit.
Last month the US national security adviser John Bolton held talks members of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs.
Nigel Farage also indicated he may have tried to influence the White House.
But there is no conclusive evidence the President was requested to make his incendiary and damaging remarks.
It is no accident the US President frequently attacks European leaders while praising strong men such as Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan of Turkey.
Mr Trump dislikes the EU because he believes its trade deals are detrimental to US businesses and its rules and regulations bar access to US goods of lower standards.
In his press conference yesterday he said the EU treated the US horribly and had barriers that are beyond belief.
The President wants to keep the UK out of the EU’s orbit as it weakens the bloc and leaves Britain vulnerable when negotiating trade deals.
His interview should be seen as a softening up exercise.
The US president’s rubbishing of Mrs May’s Brexit plans will make it harder for the PM to sell them to Brexiteer MPs and Tory activists.
Many will refuse to back the proposals outlined at Chequers last week now it is clear they prevent a comprehensive US-UK trade deal.
But the President also ruled out the no deal option by acknowledging the Prime Minister could not walk away.
He has also helped clarify the choice on offer.
We can either remain close to the EU which accounts for 43% of our trade or try to strike a trade deal with the US which accounts for 18% of our trade.
Both will require concessions by the UK.
One will see us continuing to follow EU rules and regulations without any say on them.
The other will oblige us to lower our standards and allow US firms access to our health system.
News Source MirrorNews