UK minister to apologise to Ivanka Trump for diplomat’s memos

Trump says US will ‘no longer deal’ with UK ambassador after leaks on his ‘inept’ administration

Ivanka Trump and UK international trade secretary Liam Fox arrive for the state banquet for US president Donald Trump  at Buckingham Palace on June 3rd. Photograph: Victoria Jones/Reuters

Ivanka Trump and UK international trade secretary Liam Fox arrive for the state banquet for US president Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace on June 3rd. Photograph: Victoria Jones/Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump will “no longer deal” with the UK’s ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch and criticised prime minister Theresa May for making a “mess” of Brexit, he said on Twitter.

“I have been very critical about the way the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created,” he tweeted.

“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 US. We will no longer deal with him.

“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!”

Earlier on Monday, Britain’s trade minister said he would apologise to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka for a leak of confidential memos in which the UK ambassador describes the US administration as “dysfunctional” and “inept”.

The memos from Sir Kim, the ambassador to Washington, were leaked to a Sunday newspaper, annoying Mr Trump and triggering demands on the British side to find out who had disclosed them.

International trade secretary Liam Fox, who is on a visit to Washington, told BBC radio he would apologise to the president’s daughter Ivanka, whom he is due to meet during his trip.

“I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way,” he said.

“Malicious leaks of this nature ... can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest.”

The revelations come at a time when Britain is hoping to strike a major trade deal with its closest ally after it leaves the European Union, an exit scheduled for October 31st.

Mr Trump told reporters, of Sir Kim: “We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well, so I can understand and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”

In memos to his government dating from 2017 to the present, Sir Kim said reports of in-fighting in the White House were “mostly true” and last month described confusion within the administration over Mr Trump’s decision to call off a military strike on Iran.

“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,” Sir Kim wrote in one memo.

‘Serious consequences’

Ministers said Britain did view the Trump administration as effective.

“I have made it clear that I don’t share the ambassador’s assessment of either the US administration or relations with the US administration, but I do defend his right to make that frank assessment,” foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters.

“What we will not allow to happen is any interruption in the superb relationship that we have the United States, which is our closest ally around the world,” he added, promising “serious consequences” for whoever who had leaked the memos.

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and long a thorn in the side of British governments, said figures such as Sir Kim, would be “not be around” if former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, one of two candidates seeking to replace Theresa May as prime minister, was chosen by Conservative Party members.

Despite being close to Mr Trump, Mr Farage ruled himself out of becoming Britain’s next ambassador in Washington. “I don’t think I’m the right man for that job,” he told BBC radio.

An inquiry is now being held to determine who was behind the second serious disclosure of confidential material this year.

Two months ago, Mrs May fired defence minister Gavin Williamson after secret discussions in the National Security Council about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei were leaked to the media, and an inquiry concluded that he was responsible.

Mr Williamson denied any involvement and police said there was no reason for a criminal investigation. – Reuters