Trump lashes out at May on Twitter
United States President Donald Trump has attacked British Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, criticising her for not heeding his advice on Brexit and saying it was “good news for the wonderful United Kingdom that they will soon have a new Prime Minister”.
Mr Trump also took aim at the UK Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch, who described Mr Trump and his administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional” in leaked diplomatic cables.
The leak has opened a diplomatic rift between the May Government and the Trump Administration, with the UK now in full damage control mode.
Mr Trump tweeted:
The US President’s comments come after Prime Minister May reaffirmed support for Sir Darroch — a respected career diplomat.
Sir Darroch said the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Mr Trump, stating: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”
British Foreign Secretary and prime ministerial hopeful, Jeremy Hunt, has also defended Sir Darroch, saying that while the Ambassador’s views do not reflect those of the UK Government, it is important that ambassadors make “frank assessments” of the country of their posting.
Mr Hunt said: “I have made it clear that I don’t share the Ambassador’s assessment of either the US Administration or relations with the US Administration, but I do defend his right to make that frank assessment.”
He promised there would be “serious consequences” for whoever leaked the memos.
British Trade Minister Liam Fox told BBC radio that he would issue a personal apology to Mr Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, during a meeting in Washington.
“I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way,” he said.
“Malicious leaks of this nature … can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest.”
OPINION: The truth hurts
It is both unsurprising and amusing that Mr Trump would respond to Sir Darroch’s criticism by lashing out like this.
Unsurprising because it is well established that the US President has remarkably thin skin, despite being no stranger to criticism and controversy; and amusing because it appears Mr Trump does not realise his response is precisely the kind of behaviour that inspired Sir Darroch’s assessment of him and his administration.
While this is a diplomatic disaster for the British Government, it is refreshing to see such an unvarnished official reading of the White House.
Despite the political niceties, Downing Street is fully aware of the kind of White House it is dealing with, which should reassure those concerned about Trump Administration’s governance of the US.
In any case, the diplomatic fallout is unlikely to fundamentally change the UK-US relationship, which is underpinned by security, defence, shared values and trade — all of which are far more important and stable than the snowflake of a president currently occupying the White House.
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