Trump says British health service should be on the table in trade deal with UK

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE said Tuesday that "everything" should be up for discussion as part of a trade deal between the United States and United Kingdom, including offering National Health Service (NHS) contracts to U.S. companies, something British officials have opposed.

Trump said during a joint press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayLabour's loss should tell Democrats not to tack too far to the left Is Corbyn handing Brexit to Boris Johnson? Boris Johnson is under pressure to stand up to Trump on climate change MORE that he believes the two countries will be able to establish a "great and very comprehensive trade deal." Asked if the NHS, the U.K.'s publicly-funded health care system, should be included, Trump said yes.


"Look, I think everything with a trade deal is on the table," he said. "When you’re dealing with trade, everything’s on the table. So, NHS or anything else. Or a lot more than that. But everything will be on the table. Absolutely."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson first broached the idea in an interview on Sunday with the BBC, saying the entire economy should be considered when discussing a trade deal. 

The comments from Trump and Johnson could complicate trade talks moving forward, as numerous British officials have objected to the prospect of offering up NHS contracts to U.S. companies as part of a deal. 

May, who will step down as prime minister in the coming weeks, sought to temper expectations immediately after Trump's answer.

"The point about making trade deals is, of course, that both sides negotiate and come to an agreement about what should or should not be in that trade deal for the future," she said.

Any bilateral trade deal will be left to May's successor to negotiate, and will have to wait until after the U.K. leaves the European Union.

Multiple politicians vying to replace May as prime minister have said they would rule out including the NHS in any prospective trade deal.

A recent YouGov U.K. survey found that those surveyed view the NHS highly, with the health service coming in second among institutions respondents were most proud of, behind the fire brigade.