Jul 9, 2019

U.K. foreign secretary: Trump's comments are "disrespectful and wrong"

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.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will square off to replace Theresa May

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Kim Darroch resigns as U.K. ambassador to the U.S.

Kim Darroch. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch resigned Wednesday after days of controversy over his leaked cables back to London regarding President Trump's temperament.

Why it matters: The ensuing firestorm severely damaged his public reputation with the Trump administration — kicking off a war of words between the U.S. and the U.K. — and made him a persona non grata in the White House.

Go deeperArrowJul 10, 2019

Johnson won't say if he'd keep ambassador to U.S. on if he becomes PM

Boris Johnson during the Conservative Party leadership debate. Photo: Matt Frost/ITV via Getty Images

Boris Johnson repeatedly evaded answering leadership debate questions Tuesday on whether he'd keep the British ambassador to the U.S. in office if he becomes prime minister this month, following the leak of cables criticizing President Trump.

The big picture: During the debate, Johnson's rival, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, reiterated he'd keep Kim Darroch in his post until December, when he's due to retire — despite Trump saying he'd "no longer deal" with him. Johnson, the front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May as Conservative Party leader, said he's "not going to be so presumptuous" on what date Darroch leaves his job.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will square off to replace Theresa May

Keep ReadingArrowJul 10, 2019

U.K. PM's office says ambassador has its support despite Trump threat

President Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The U.K.'s ambassador to the U.S. has the "full support" of the prime minister, a spokesman said in a statement to news outlets. He made the comment after President Trump said he'd "no longer deal" with ambassador Kim Darroch over leaked cables showing he criticized Trump.

We have made clear to the U.S. how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship."
— U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May
Go deeperArrowJul 9, 2019