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Trump attacks British ambassador, takes swipe at UK PM May (Update)

Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday 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 criticized 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.

In memos to the British government which date from 2017 to the present, Darroch said Trump “radiates insecurity” and advises officials in London that to deal with him effectively “you need to make your points simple, even blunt.”

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 on Monday.

Darroch’s  series of confidential memos in which he said Trump’s administration was “dysfunctional”, “clumsy” and “inept”,  were leaked by the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Darroch wrote in one, according to the newspaper.

In others, the newspaper said he had described the administration as “uniquely dysfunctional” and that media reports about White House “knife fights” are “mostly true”.

Darroch wrote that “we could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral, rather than just a rollercoaster: something could emerge that leads to disgrace and downfall.”

But he also warned British officials not to write Trump off, saying there was a “credible path” to him winning a second term in office. He said Trump may “emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator.”

The Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Mail on Sunday cited a spokesman as saying that the public would expect diplomats “to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their countries”.

“Their views are not necessarily the views of Ministers or indeed the Government. But we pay them to be candid,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.

In a memo written last month, Darroch described confusion within the administration over Trump’s decision to abort a military strike on Iran, and that the president citing the number of predicted casualties as the reason he had changed his mind “didn’t stand up”.

“It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,” Darroch wrote, adding that Trump could still trigger a conflict with Iran.

“Just one more Iranian attack somewhere in the region could trigger yet another Trump U-turn. Moreover, the loss of a single American life would probably make a critical difference.”

During a state visit to Britain last month, Trump was effusive about the “special relationship” between the United States and Britain, promising a “phenomenal” trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union.

The Mail on Sunday reported that in a message sent after that visit, Darroch said that the president and his team had been “dazzled” by the visit and Britain might be “flavour of the month” but “this is still the land of America First”.

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