Trump says he won’t deal with British en­voy who crit­i­cized him

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION/WORLD - By Noah Bierman

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day said he would no longer deal with Bri­tain’s am­bas­sador to the United States, who in leaked memos called him and his administra­tion “in­ept,” “in­se­cure” and “dys­func­tional.”

The dec­la­ra­tion from Trump, made on Twit­ter, marked an­other fault line in the “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the two coun­tries that has seen sev­eral ups and downs since Trump took of­fice and has been in­creas­ingly fraught with ten­sion over Bri­tain’s messy exit from the Eu­ro­pean Union.

Trump has been fu­ri­ous since this week­end, when the Mail on Sun­day, a British tabloid, pub­lished a trove of memos writ­ten in 2017 by Am­bas­sador Kim Dar­roch.

But Trump’s re­sponse Mon­day went beyond sim­ply crit­i­ciz­ing Dar­roch, who is set to leave his post at the end of this year.

“I have been very crit­i­cal about the way the U.K. and Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May han­dled Brexit,” Trump wrote. “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 thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him.”

Many of Trump’s aides have fre­quented events at the British Em­bassy dur­ing Dar­roch’s ten­ure.

Trump added that “the good news for the won­der­ful United King­dom” is that they will have a new prime min­is­ter soon.

“While I thor­oughly en­joyed the mag­nif­i­cent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most im­pressed with!” Trump added.

Dur­ing his state visit to Bri­tain last month, Trump praised May ef­fu­sively, telling re­porters that she had brought Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions to “a very good point.”

“I think she’s done a very good job,” he added.

British of­fi­cials have not dis­puted the au­then­tic­ity of the memos, but have said they re­flected Dar­roch’s per­sonal views rather than of­fi­cial pol­icy.

Still, the harsh assessment of Trump from Amer­ica’s clos­est ally is an un­usual breach. Some diplo­mats from al­lied coun­tries have ex­pressed sim­i­lar views in pri­vate but have gen­er­ally left it to their su­pe­ri­ors to flat­ter Trump in pub­lic for fear of up­set­ting re­la­tions with the su­per­power.

May re­signed in June and her re­place­ment as leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party — and there­fore prime min­is­ter — is sched­uled to be cho­sen in the com­ing weeks.

Some in the British me­dia have spec­u­lated that pol­i­tics around Brexit may have spurred the leak in an ef­fort to el­e­vate Nigel Farage, who fa­vors a swift exit from Europe. Farage heads the Brexit Party and is not on the bal­lot, but his in­flu­ence within a coali­tion govern­ment could rise amid con­cerns over dam­age to the re­la­tion­ship with Trump.

Trump held only a brief meet­ing with Farage dur­ing his Lon­don trip, but ear­lier in his ten­ure had said Farage would make a good am­bas­sador to the United States.

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