Speed Reads

No Deal

Nancy Pelosi shoots down John Bolton's enthusiastic embrace of a no-deal Brexit

On Monday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton emerged from a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a message about Britain's exit from the European Union, which appears increasingly likely to happen without a divorce agreement in place. Economists say a no-deal Brexit would be really bad for Britain, but "if that's the decision of the British government we will support it enthusiastically, and that's what I'm trying to convey," Bolton said. "We're with you, we're with you." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was notably less enthusiastic.

President Trump wants to see a successful Brexit and is eager to help cushion the financial impact by negotiating a free trade pact, Bolton said, and it could be implemented on a "sector-by-sector" basis." An agreement or "series of agreements" could be hammered out "very quickly, very straightforwardly," he added, predicting there would be enthusiastic bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to quickly ratify any of these trade deals.

Sector-by-sector trade deals would almost certainly violate World Trade Organization rules, BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker writes, but there's also a "substantial body of American legislators who would likely vote against any deal if they thought that Brexit had taken place in a way that posed a danger to the peace process and the open border on the island of Ireland," as a no-deal Brexit presumably would.

In a statement issued after Bolton's remarks, Pelosi reiterated that "whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland," and "if Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress. The peace of the Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be fiercely defended on a bicameral and bipartisan basis in the United States Congress."