Trump, May and Hunt during last month's state visit. Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is in the running to replace Theresa May as prime minister later this month, has scolded President Trump for his "disrespectful and wrong" comments about May and the U.K.'s ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch.
Context: Darroch described Trump's administration as "inept" and "incompetent" in private memos back to London that leaked to the Mail on Sunday. After May declined to censure Darroch, Trump unleashed a series of tweets accusing the prime minister of taking a "foolish" approach to Brexit, and claiming his administration would cut off ties with 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 handled."— Trump, via Twitter
"[T]hese comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country. ... You said the UK/US alliance was the greatest in history and I agree... allies need to treat each other with respect as @theresa_may has always done with you. Ambassadors are appointed by the UK government and if I become PM our Ambassador stays."— Hunt's response, via Twitter
The big picture: Trump has repeatedly insulted and embarrassed May, including by suggesting Boris Johnson should replace her as prime minister. The president is likely to get his wish as Johnson leads Hunt by a big margin among Conservative Party members, who are currently taking part in a mail-in ballot to select their next leader. Johnson has not yet commented on whether he would keep Darroch in Washington — though he'll likely be forced to confront the issue during a televised leadership debate on Tuesday evening.