Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appeared to undermine President Donald Trump while speaking on foreign soil on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Irish Parliament about President Trump’s repeated calls for a U.S.-U.K. trade deal following Brexit, Pelosi said such a deal “stands no chance” if leaving the European Union (EU) negatively impacts the 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we must ensure that nothing happens in Brexit discussions that imperils the Good Friday accord – including, but not limited to, the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland,” Pelosi said while speaking to the Irish Parliament.
She added, “Let me be clear: if the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday accords, there will be no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement.”
The 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement is what helped create trade and cooperation between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and is leaving the EU because of Brexit, and independent Ireland, which will remain with the EU. Many are trying to avoid a hard border being created between Northern Ireland and independent Ireland as a result of Brexit.
One of the decisions to come out of the Good Friday agreement was that Northern Ireland citizens could identify as British, Irish, or both.
Brexit has been a hotly debated decision since it passed in 2016. The landmark decision to have Britian leave the EU has been debated for nearly three years now and the actual withdrawal from the Union isn’t set to happen until October 31 of this year.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been trying to introduce a “backstop” into the Brexit decision, which would allow the U.K. to be in a customs union until a trade deal between the country and the EU can be reached. Brexit supporters have been highly critical of this plan.
What some Brexit supporters have supported is a “no deal” Brexit where Britain would leave the EU without a formal agreement in place and then revert to the World Trade Organization Terms (WTO). Some have argued — and it appears Pelosi agrees — that this line of action could lead to a hard border between Northern Ireland and independent Ireland and an end to the Good Friday Agreement.
Global politics aside, President Trump has made clear that he is interested in negotiating a trade deal with a Britain independent of the EU.
“My Administration looks forward to negotiating a large scale Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. The potential is unlimited!” wrote the president just last month on Twitter.
Any such trade deal would need to go through Congress, which is why it’s a little disturbing that Pelosi would be flying to other countries and making promises that undermine the wishes of the president.
The Irish Times reported that Pelosi made comments similar to the ones in front of Parliament while in a meeting with British lawmakers who belong to the European Research Group, which is in favor of Brexit.
Brendan Boyle (D-PA), who was also in Ireland serving as a U.S. delegate, told the Irish Times that the European Research Group was not concerned with theories about a hard border between Northern Ireland and independent Ireland being created if Britain leaves the EU with no formal trade agreement in place.
“As they expressed it, it is clear that their world view is that the Border issue is ‘concocted’ and that it is really just being used by Remainers in London, Brussels, Dublin and Washington all in some sort of grand conspiracy to force them to do something that they don’t want to do,” said the congressman.
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