Trump targets UK PM May; says her impending departure “good news”
Washington/London, Jul 9 : In rare public disdain for a British Prime Minister, US President Donald Trump assailed premier Theresa May for the “mess” she created over her handling of the crucial Brexit negotiations with the EU and even welcomed her impending departure from office.
The US President’s digital tirade against the British Prime Minister came hours after Downing Street reiterated the UK’s ambassador to the US Kim Darroch has May’s “full support” following the leak of diplomatic cables highly critical of Trump’s presidency.
Trump’s devastating tweets sent a clear message to London that Darroch, a career diplomat who was Monday branded an anti-Trump globalist by his foes back home, is no longer welcome in the White House. He was dis-invited from a dinner with Trump, the Emir of Qatar and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday.
Trump also took what may be a final swipe at outgoing Prime Minister May, accusing her of making a “mess” of Britain’s planned exit from the European Union — a 28-member bloc Trump disdains.
He also made clear that the “special relationship” under May’s successor who will take over in a couple of weeks will be on his terms, a sentiment that could have enormous political and diplomatic implications in London and beyond.
“The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister,” Trump tweeted as May’s successor will be announced on July 23 after she formally resigned last month after failing to get the backing of Conservative MPs for her divorce deal with the EU.
“I have been very critical about the way the U.K. and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit,” he said.
“What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way. I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well….,” Trump said.
“We will no longer deal with him,” Trump vowed.
Trump’s tweets came after leaked emails revealed Darroch had called his administration “inept”, impacting UK’s special relationship with the US.
“We might be flavour of the month, but this is still the land of ‘America First,'” wrote Darroch with reference to Trump’s visit to London last month. In other memos, leaked to the “Mail on Sunday”, the envoy described President Trump as “inept” and his administration as mired in chaos.
Number 10 called the leak “unfortunate” and said the UK and US still shared a “special and enduring” relationship.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We have made clear to the US how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.”
But he said ambassadors needed to be able to provide honest assessments of the politics in their country, and the prime minister stood by Kim.
“The UK has a special and enduring relationship with the US based on our long history and commitment to shared values and that will continue to be the case,” he said.
A former British ambassador to the US and a close friend of Kim said there was a “possible range of villains” who potentially could have made the leak.
Sir Christopher Meyer told Today: “It was clearly somebody who set out deliberately to sabotage Sir Kim’s ambassadorship, to make his position untenable and to have him replaced by somebody more congenial to the leaker.”
Speaking on Monday following Trump’s initial comments on the leaked emails, Downing Street said the prime minister did not agree with Kim’s assessment but had “full faith” in him.
“We’re not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well”, Trump had said in his initial comments.
Police were urged to open a criminal investigation into the leak in addition to an internal inquiry launched by the government, the BBC reported.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, told MPs that he had made the request in a letter to the Met Police.
The police said it has received Tugendhat’s request but had not received an official governmental referral of allegations in relation to the Official Secrets Act.
Such a referral would be required for a criminal investigation to be considered, a Met spokesman said.