American presidents typically make at least a rhetorical show of not interfering in the internal affairs of most other countries—particularly allies. When Barack Obama weighed in on his preferred outcome in the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, for example, some took it as unseemly meddling. Donald Trump, though, has freely and repeatedly scolded the U.K. in public, first on counterterrorism, now on health care, and in both cases on Twitter.
Trump on Monday called out the U.K.’s treasured universal health-care system, the National Health Service, to criticize his political rivals back home. “The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working,” he said in apparent reference to weekend protests in London. During those protests, thousands of Britons called on the government to allocate more funding for the health service.
Trump’s decision to single out the NHS (as opposed to the universal health-care systems in other countries, like France and Canada, that also have them) was perhaps not coincidental. As Buzzfeed reported, the tweet coincided with a Monday morning segment of Fox & Friends, in which former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader and Trump ally Nigel Farage warned that if the U.S. were to introduce free universal health care, “then any attempt in the future to reform it or take those benefits back becomes politically impossible.” (The odds of the U.S. doing this anytime soon are not high; even Obama’s health care overhaul stopped well short of introducing free universal health care, and Republicans have been trying to repeal that law almost since it passed.)