Protesters demand more money for the state-funded NHS in the UK at a protest on Saturday. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
Protesters demand more money for the state-funded NHS in the UK at a protest on Saturday. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS

‘Absolute plank’: Brit fury after Trump insult

JUST when the "special relationship" seemed to be back on track, President Trump has sparked a wave of anger in the UK over insulting a national point of pride; the healthcare system.

The US leader set his sights on Britain's National Health Service (NHS) on Monday, tweeting that "thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working".

The comment sparked a huge backlash from Brits over the accuracy of the claims - particularly as the march he referred to was designed to demand more funding for the NHS following a decade of austerity measures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover" in reference to the Republican goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

"NHS may have challenges but I'm proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage - where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance."

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn simply tweeted: "Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right."

Broadcaster Piers Morgan, who recently extracted an almost-apology from Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim videos shared by nationalist group Britain First, also called him out, writing "the US healthcare system is a sick joke & the envy of no-one."

Others were not so diplomatic, calling the President an "absolute plank" and saying US-style policies are what has caused the chaos this winter that has seen operations cancelled due to beds being full in some places.

The NHS is widely seen as a point of national pride in the UK despite its funding problems and pressurs, even included in the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics.


Trump's tweet came after ex-UKIP leader and Trump supporter Nigel Farage appeared on Fox and Friends talking about the weekend march.

In the interview he blamed immigration for increasing pressure on the NHS and said it's at "breaking point" due to the service being overloaded.

The truth is the NHS is at breaking point due to a population crisis. We haven't got enough hospitals, doctors or facilities to cope.

It also led to a slapdown from the march organisers, the People's Assembly Against Austerity and Health Campaigns Together who said the UK system that has been in effect since 1948 has been a "shining example to the world of what can be achieved when we put the needs of the collective good over the interests of a few wealthy individuals."

"Unfortunately, our current government have been persuaded to increasingly adopt policies which represent those of your Government, they have decided to move us more to an American-style system which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most expensive, inefficient and unjust healthcare systems in the world," they wrote in an open letter to Trump.

"This is what our demonstration was about on Saturday 3rd February and tens of thousands of British people want to show their love for the principles of universal and comprehensive care free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation. We don't agree with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks."

The spat is latest in a rocky relationship between the US leader and the UK that has already seen him address PM Theresa May directly on Twitter after she said he was "wrong" to retweet Britain First.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has also said he should not be offered a state visit to the UK after Trump criticised his response to terror attacks in 2017.

In February the President cancelled a "working visit" to the UK at short notice reportedly due to fear of widespread protests, however following a January meeting with Theresa May in Davos the UK government said he could be due to visit the UK in June.