That leaves an opening and an incentive for Johnson and Trump to do a deal: they both need it politically.

Johnson couldn’t give in fully to American agricultural, pharmaceutical and healthcare demands, but nor can he risk a prolonged recession, which is a real Brexit risk. Trump would need to show his trade war is working ahead of the 2020 election. Pragmatism and healthy doses of showmanship on both sides of the Atlantic would ensure this dynamic succeeds: Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday at POLITICO’s Women Rule summit that she is happy to deliver a trade deal that benefits Trump, so long as it also benefits American workers.

For now, that dream remains on ice. Trade negotiations rarely follow the timetables set by leaders, and Johnson committed a major gaffe Monday: refusing to engage with news of a sick four-year old sprawled on hospital floor for lack of a bed.