UK’s ‘strained’ relationship with Trump exposed as former US ambassador lifts lid on chaos

Trump: Kim Darroch discusses UK relationship

Lord Kim Darroch, who represented the UK in America for the first half of the Trump years, said the impulsive behaviour of the President had a negative impact on relations. Talking to MPs this afternoon the former diplomat said relations quickly broke down between the allies.

He said: “We started well, we got the first visit of any international leader into the White House a mere week after the Inauguration but frankly, then it didn’t prosper.

“The personal relationship between President Trump and Theresa May was at best strained and had its acronymous moments.”

One such moment occurred when emails describing the Trump administration as “clumsy and inept” from Lord Darroch to the UK Government were leaked.

The President lashed out on Twitter, calling the Ambassador “wacky” and “a very stupid guy”.

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He also criticised Mrs May for refusing his advice on how to strike a Brexit deal with Brussels, saying she “went her own foolish way”.

Lord Darroch told the Commons Defence Select Committee the UK was also often caught by surprise by the actions of the US.

He said: “One of the almost defining features of the Trump administration was that he didn’t really do consultation.

“Although of course, we bring less to the table in NATO than the Americans do you would expect to have some consultation, some discussion, before major decisions which affect your national security are taken.

“That didn’t happen at all really.

“Consultation before decisions were taken just didn’t happen.”

The former diplomat said the UK would often find out about decisions being made by the Trump White House only once they had been leaked to the press.

On matters that impacted the UK, officials would be left scrambling to try and persuade the US to change its position before it was made public.

“We heard in advance because it was leaked to the press, so we tried to get in and talk to people before it was actually announced,” he said.

“But between things being leaked to the press and it being announced was usually less than 24 hours.”

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In one instance Britain was blindsided by the President when a decision was made on the Iran nuclear deal while Boris Johnson was half way to Washington to try and hold talks on the matter with the administration.

Lord Darroch said: “The US withdrew from the Paris Climate Change deal rather suddenly.

“They withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal very suddenly, actually while the then Foreign Secretary and now Prime Minister was more or less in the air to Washington to try and persuade them not to.

“To have that kind of haphazard no consultant process in decision making, together with a strained relationship at the top between a President and Prime Minister, it gets quite difficult to achieve the things you would want to achieve out of this relationship.”

While the former ambassador said he could only give insight on his time in Washington, there is little to suggest the relationship improved when Mr Johnson entered No10.

Last month former Cabinet Secretary, Mark Sedwill, said he thought Mr Johnson was pleased Joe Biden had beaten Mr Trump in the US election.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Based on my time working for Boris Johnson in Downing Street, I believe those who have said he would have preferred a second Trump term are mistaken.

“That would not have been to the benefit of British or European security, to transatlantic trade, let alone the environmental agenda to which the Prime Minister is so committed.

“Mr Biden’s administration will reset priorities much more in line with those of his former boss, Barack Obama.

“He will re-engage with democracies and global institutions – such as the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation – that Mr Trump despised and disrupted.

“He will revive arms control negotiations with Iran and Russia, and rejoin the Paris treaty, which is crucial to the prospects for this year’s climate change conference in Glasgow.”

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