White House 3 December 2019 Donald Trump’s confusion over the NHS The US president has lurched from describing the health service as a “great system” to one that is “broke and not working”. Getty Images NSSign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. An orange man has arrived in London. This is what he’s had to say about the NHS featuring in US-UK trade negotiations after Brexit: “I have nothing to do with it, never even thought about it...In this country they have to work it out for themselves...We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn't want to. If you handed it to us on a silver platter we want nothing to do with it.” The orange man’s reticence is a little surprising. After all, it was only a year ago that he was tweeting his views on the NHS: “Thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U[niversal] system is broke and not working.” Broke and not working. Damning stuff. Surely then, a little dose of privatisation wouldn't hurt anyone? Except the orange man is not entirely sure, as he explained to David Letterman in 2015: “A friend of mine was in Scotland recently. He got very, very sick. They took him by ambulance and he was there for four days. He was really in trouble, and they released him, and he said, ‘Where do I pay?’ And they said, ‘There's no charge.’ Not only that, he said it was like great doctors, great care. I mean we could have a great system in this country.” Ah, it's all clear now. The “broke and not working” NHS is in fact working better and is not as broke as the system across the pond. So what is it that the orange man is really thinking? What is it that he is not eyeing up? What is not on a “silver platter”? “In some cases, medicine that costs a few dollars in a foreign country costs hundreds of dollars in America for the same pill, with the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant. That is unacceptable. “It's unfair. It's ridiculous. It's not going to happen any longer. It's time to end the global freeloading once and for all.” Ah, got it. The broke and not working NHS, that is in fact working better and is not as broke as the system across the pond, needs to pay more for its pills. › Europe's Green Deal is a tepid response to the climate crisis Subscribe To stay on top of global affairs and enjoy even more international coverage subscribe for just £1 per month!