- President Donald Trump has launched a new attack on British Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK’s ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch.
- On Tuesday he described May’s handling of Brexit as a “disaster” and Darroch as “wacky.”
- The row escalates diplomatic tensions between the two countries that started when disparaging remarks Darroch had made about the Trump administration were leaked.
- May’s government insists it will stand by its ambassador in the face of Trump’s comments.
- “The United Kingdom Government determines who its ambassador is,” her spokesman said Tuesday.
- The UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt labels Trump’s comments “disrespectful and wrong.”
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LONDON – President Donald Trump escalated a diplomatic row with the United Kingdom on Tuesday, calling Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit “foolish” and a “disaster,” and launching a new attack on the UK’s ambassador to the United States, labeling him a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.”
The US president renewed his criticisms of May’s handling of Britain’s negotiations to exit the European Union, tweeting that he told May “how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done.” He went on to call her handling “A disaster!”
He also doubled down on his criticism of the UK ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, whom he described as “the wacky Ambassador” and not “someone we are thrilled with.”
The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who is running to replace May as prime minister, responded by saying that Trump’s comments were “disrespectful and wrong.”
“These comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country,” Hunt tweeted.
He added that “allies need to treat each other with respect as Theresa May has always done with you.”
Darroch entered the eye of a diplomatic storm after remarks he made disparaging the Trump administration – remarks that were shared with UK officials in confidence – were leaked to the Mail on Sunday newspaper over the weekend.
In the notes, the UK ambassador to the US said that Trump’s government was “uniquely dysfunctional” and added: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal.
He also described Trump’s presidency as “dysfunctional,” “incompetent,” and “inept.”
Trump on Sunday told reporters in New Jersey that Darroch “has not served the UK well, I can tell you that” and adding: “We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well.
“So I can understand it, and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”
He also insisted that the White House would refuse to work with Darroch and disinvited him from a coming state banquet.
The UK government insisted on Tuesday that they would be standing by Darroch.
“The United Kingdom Government determines who its ambassador is,” a spokesman for prime minister May said on Tuesday, following Trump’s comments.
“Sir Kim continues to be our ambassador, we have full confidence in him in that role.”
They added: “The PM has made clear to Sir Kim that he has her full support.”
However, May’s spokesman confirmed that Darroch would not be attending a meeting between the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Ivanka Trump on Tuesday.
“I can confirm that he isn’t attending but he is supporting the visit,” the spokesman said.
May’s likely successor, Boris Johnson, declined to criticise the president’s comments.
“I have got a good relationship with the White House and I have no embarrassment in saying that,” Johnson said.
“I think it’s very important that we have a strong relationship with our most important ally. The United States is, has been, will be and for the foreseeable future our number one political military friend.”
Asked whether Trump was right to criticise the prime minister, he replied: “Myself, I have said some pretty critical things about the Brexit negotiations so far and that’s one of the reasons I am standing tonight and one of the reasons I am putting myself forward.”
The foreign office minister Alan Duncan condemned the leak of Darroch’s comments on Monday, and said the UK would be fully investigating the source, with the possibility of a full criminal investigation taking place.
“If evidence of criminality is found then yes the police could be involved,” Duncan told members of Parliament.
“They are going to follow all avenues of inquiry to try to understand how this happened. That’s something that will be considered.”
Here are Trump’s tweets about May and Darroch
The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019
…handled. I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019