Johnson: Trump Was Right to Call May’s Brexit Deal a ‘Disaster’

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: In this handout photo provided by the BBC, MP Boris Johnson speaks during a Conservative Leadership televised debate on June 18, 2019 in London, England. Emily Maitlis hosts the second of the televised Conservative Leadership debates for the BBC. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, …
Jeff Overs/BBC via Getty Images

Tory leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson has said that it is “hard to disagree” with U.S. President Donald J Trump who called outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit a “disaster”.

Less than a week ago, leaked 2017 diplomatic cables revealed that the UK’s envoy to the U.S. Sir Kim Darroch had labelled President Trump “insecure” and his administration “inept” — a disclosure that threatened to sour Anglo-American relations.

While Prime Minister May maintained that she had “full faith” in her ambassador, Brexiteers like Nigel Farage called for the diplomat to resign, with Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice saying Sir Kim “should have offered his resignation” as soon as the leaks appeared in the media.

In the following days, President Trump remarked that the diplomat “had not well served” the UK and said on Monday he “would no longer be dealing with him”. The following day, the President excoriated Sir Kim, and criticised Prime Minister May for her Brexit negotiations with the EU, saying:

The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He 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.

I told Theresa May how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.

Speaking to POLITICO as the news broke that Sir Kim resigned, Conservative Party leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson said that he “can’t dissent” on the President’s verdict on Brexit.

“When it comes to the context of what the President has said about the Brexit deal, I find it hard to disagree,” Mr Johnson said.

The Conservative continued: “He has strong views about Brexit and he has strong views about the deal. Probably, from the point of view of those of us who want to get Brexit done and make a great success of it, it would be fair to say this is a debate that’s best conducted within the UK… But you know — the President has his style and his approach.”

Senior party politicians have blamed Johnson, the likely next prime minister of the United Kingdom, for Sir Kim’s resignation because he failed to sufficiently defend the diplomat in the immediate aftermath of the leak, where it had been clear the relationship between the White House and embassy had already been damaged.

Conservative Party members are currently voting in a postal ballot for the next party leader and prime minister, with the winner set to be announced on July 24th. Less than two weeks away and without a diplomat in post, outgoing Prime Minister May has been urged by senior party loyalists to replace Sir Kim now — a suggestion criticised by Tory Brexiteers, Johnson supporters, and the Brexit Party’s Mr Tice, who fear that May would appoint another Remainer who would be an obstruction to building good relations and a bilateral trade deal.

Figures in the British media have also remarked that the British embassy under Darroch had been home to anti-Trumpers and Europhiles, with the Daily Mail‘s Andrew Pierce calling Sir Kim a “Remoaner who’s had bad relations with the White House from day one”.

Conservative writer Tim Montgomerie said: “I attended many events at the UK Embassy in Washington — they were packed with establishment Clintonians. Darroch’s cables contained nothing I hadn’t read in the New York Times or seen on CNN. Our diplomatic service needs a huge overhaul.”


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