President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May like to tell people about their special relationship.
With good reason, few diplomatic relationships employ such a unique mixture of open hostility and simmering passive-aggressiveness. These traits apparently form the bedrock of an “extraordinary” friendship.
Enter British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who joined the friend circle Tuesday, with a series of tweets aimed directly at Trump.
“Friends speak frankly, so I will: These comments are disrespectful and wrong to our prime minister and my country,” Hunt tweeted at Trump Tuesday. “You said the U.K./U.S. alliance was the greatest in history, and I agree, but allies need to treat each other with respect.”
Hunt was responding to Trump’s latest attacks on May and Sir Kim Darroch, the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S., whom Trump called a “pompous fool.”
The exchange among friends began Sunday, when British tabloid the Daily Mail published leaked cables, in which Darroch referred to the Trump administration as “clumsy and inept” and “uniquely dysfunctional.”
Trump didn’t take kindly to those delicate descriptions, and made his feelings clear over Twitter.
“The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.”
He proceeded to attack May, just for good measure, criticizing the outgoing prime minister for the way she handled Brexit. “[Darroch] 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 added.
Trump has called for Darroch to step down, and the White House uninvited Darroch from a dinner in Washington for the emir of Qatar on Monday night, and has said it won’t deal with him any longer. But it’s far from clear what that will mean in practice. May has said that the ambassador has her support.
Darroch is hardly alone among Britons who view Trump less than favorably.
Hunt, who’s vying to replace May as the UK’s next Prime Minister, surely is aware of that. Criticizing Trump may be an easy play for Hunt to get a little bit of favorable media attention and boost his chances of overtaking Former Foreign Secretary and Brexit-enthusiast Boris Johnson in the prime minister race.
Cover: US President Donald Trump chats with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the first working session of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Picture date: Friday June 28, 2019. See PA story POLITICS G20 . Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire URN:43792759 (Press Association via AP Images)