Saturday 19 October 2019

Trump slams May and refuses to deal with UK ambassador

Clumsy and inept: British ambassador Kim Darroch offered a critical view of Donald Trump's White House. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Clumsy and inept: British ambassador Kim Darroch offered a critical view of Donald Trump's White House. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Shaun Connolly and Harriet Line

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he "will no longer deal" with the British ambassador to the United States, after a weekend news report that the UK diplomat had described Trump's administration as dysfunctional, clumsy and inept.

"I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him," Trump said in a Twitter post that also criticised outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

"What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way," he said.

"The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!" he wrote

Trump attacked Ambassador Kim Darroch on Twitter a day after the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported he had made the critical comments, citing a series of confidential memos.

Trump also dismissed the ambassador on Sunday as not having "served the UK well." Britain's government has told Washington that leaks of the memos were a matter of regret, May's spokesman said yesterday.

However, Downing Street has said Theresa May has "full faith" in the country's ambassador to the US.

While showing support for the ambassador and the need for "unvarnished assessments" of foreign political situations, Number 10 distanced itself from Mr Darroch's withering assessment of the Trump White House.

The British prime minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "The PM has full faith in her ambassador to Washington.

"Our ambassadors provide honest, unvarnished assessments of politics in their country - those views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed of the government.

"As the foreign secretary has said, this leak is not acceptable.

"We would expect such advice to be handled in the correct way and a leak inquiry has been launched."

Asked if Mrs May agreed with the contents of Mr Darroch's leaked assessment of the Trump administration, the spokesman said: "The PM does not agree with that assessment.

"The prime minister has a good relationship with the president and the government works closely and constructively with the administration across a wide range of issues."

The spokesman said there was "nothing to suggest" hostile state actors had been involved in the leak.

Number 10 said officials had contacted the Trump administration and set out that they believe the leak is "unacceptable".

The comments came after the UK's international trade secretary, Liam Fox, called for the law to be involved in how the explosive and supposedly secret remarks from the British ambassador to the US became public.

Mr Fox expressed concern the leaks could damage the UK's relationship with Washington after Mr Trump made clear his displeasure.

"This is such a damaging, potentially damaging, event that I hope the full force of our internal discipline, or even the law, will come down on whoever actually carried out this particular act," Mr Fox said.

A formal investigation will be carried out to determine how the candid and highly embarrassing messages were leaked.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he did not agree with all the views expressed by Mr Darroch.

"I think the US administration is highly effective and we have the warmest of relationships and a partnership based on standing up for shared values," said the would-be prime minister.

Mr Hunt said the leak was "not acceptable" and warned there would be "very serious consequences" if the culprit is identified.

"I'm very concerned about it because fundamental to the proper functioning of our diplomatic network - which I happen to believe is one of the finest, if not the finest, in the world - is to be able to exchange opinions frankly," he added.

Irish Independent

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