UKIP leader Nigel Farage slammed one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most senior trade officials on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme on Sunday morning.
Speaking about the European Union and Britain’s upcoming membership referendum, Mr. Marr asked Mr. Farage about recent comments made by White House trade commissioner Michael Froman, who implied that Britain may be on the receiving end of higher trade tariffs from the United States if the country left the EU.
“He’s clearly been paid to say that, hasn’t he? This is the big political club gathering around the Prime Minister who clearly is in desperate trouble with the referendum,” Mr Farage shot back, triggering a hysterical response from some of the most pro-EU news outlets in the UK – including the Independent.
“This is laughable – America’s got a free trade deal with Oman, America’s got a free trade deal with Australia. Are you seriously telling me that their oldest and closet global ally with whom they do enormous amounts of business?” he asked.
“…it’s an attempt to scaremonger by a paid official.”
Mr Farage’s broadside followed an unwelcome intervention from Mr. Froman, who told Reuters last week: “I think it’s absolutely clear that Britain has a greater voice at the trade table being part of the EU, being part of a larger economic entity… We’re not particularly in the market for [free trade agreements] with individual countries. We’re building platforms … that other countries can join over time.”
“We have no [free trade agreement] with the UK so they would be subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures – as China, or Brazil or India,” Mr. Froman concluded.
But his comments – less veiled, though a certain threat – are perceived as an Obama policy rather than one of the American political establishment in its entirety.
President Obama is known for his hostility to the United Kingdom, as evidenced by his lack of manners when in audience with Her Majesty the Queen, and indeed his insulting relegation of the Churchill bust that sat in the White House before he became president.