Donald Trump seemed less than awestruck when talking about his late mother’s homeland in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, observing “You don’t hear the word Britain any more.”
Whereas American anglophiles are stereotypically enamoured of the Beatles, Downton Abbey and the royal family, the US president’s most urgent concern appears to be the implications of Scottish independence for the Open golf championship.
And Trump appeared more keen to discuss golf than specifics of post-Brexit trade deal. After a discursive discussion about healthcare, jobs and their respective families, Baker noted that Trump had tweeted that morning about trade talks with Britain and asked if could provide more details.
The president replied: “No, but I can say that we’re going to be very involved with the UK. I mean, you don’t hear the word Britain any more. It’s very interesting. It’s like, nope.”
Brexit-besieged Downing Street will presumably be hoping that Trump meant that the term “Britain” has lost out to “the UK” in common usage, rather than that the country itself has fallen into obscurity.
The conversation moved on. Baker remarked that he is English. It was Trump’s turn to ask a question about Scottish independence: “Is Scotland going to go for the vote, by the way? You don’t see it. It would be terrible. They just went through hell.”
“One little thing,” he said. “What would they do with the British Open if they ever got out? They’d no longer have the British Open.” Trump added: “Scotland. Keep it in Scotland.”
He and Baker then conversed about golf and the American star Jordan Spieth, whom Trump ranked alongside greats Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
When Baker reminded him of the “ticking clock” of Brexit, the president said: “We have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with the prime minister. And we are absolutely looking to do a major trade deal.”
Baker followed up: “Would the idea be that the trade deal will kick in pretty much as soon as Brexit happens?”
Trump said: “As soon as it’s appropriate to have it kick in, absolutely. And it’ll be a big trade deal – much, much more business than we do right now, many, many times.”