Trump says he has no idea where NHS rumours started - despite saying it himself

US President Donald Trump at a breakfast meeting. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

US President Donald Trump at a breakfast meeting. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Donald Trump has claimed that he does not know where the rumours about involving the NHS in a US trade deal started - despite him saying it himself.

The US president was asked about the suggestion the health service could be involved in a post-Brexit trade deal during his first press conference ahead of a NATO summit.

Replying to reporters, he said: "No, not at all, I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly."

Trump added: "I don't even know where that rumour started. 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."

But the US president had himself said earlier in the year when he stood alongside Theresa May in her final days as prime minister.

He told reporters: "I think everything with a trade deal is on the table.

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"When you're dealing in trade everything is on the table so NHS or anything else, a lot more than that, but everything will be on the table, absolutely."

Questions were raised at the time after the US ambassador Woody Johnson was asked about the health service on The Andrew Marr Show.

He said: "Your national health care service is the pride of the country, and it's a highly emotionally-charged issue," before adding: "I think probably the entire economy in a trade deal would be on the table."

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Donald Trump went on to deny the suggestion in an interview with Piers Morgan, but documents released by Labour confirmed that discussions surrounding the NHS and health had formed part of trade deal talks.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has since written to the president looking for "reassurances" surrounding the matter.

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