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Trump Backed Brexit. Then He Used It As Leverage.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Washington and The World

Under this president, the ‘special relationship’ isn’t so special anymore.


July 12, 2018

When President Trump visits the United Kingdom on Friday, he will find the special relationship in its worst shape since the Suez Crisis of 1956.

It did not look this way immediately following his election. Trump loudly supported Britain’s controversial withdrawal from the European Union. He repudiated President Barack Obama’s comment that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” and promised quick progress on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He took Prime Minister Theresa May’s hand in the Rose Garden less than a week after his inauguration. But since then, the relationship has steadily deteriorated.

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Contrary to the rhetoric, the Trump administration has pursued a predatory policy toward Britain designed to capitalize on the UK’s need for new trading arrangements after Brexit. The United States has sought to exact painful concessions that it was unable to secure when Britain negotiated as a member of the EU.

The Trump administration helped block an agreement between London and Brussels on its agricultural quotas in the World Trade Organization. It has offered Britain a worse deal on the Open Skies Agreement than it currently has as an EU member. Senior Trump administration officials have made it clear that it will insist the UK adopt many U.S. regulations as a condition for an FTA, even though this........

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