Trump: ‘Wacky’ UK ambassador a ‘very stupid guy’

President Trump early Tuesday ramped up his criticism of the British ambassador to the United States, who called Trump “inept” in leaked cables, saying Kim Darroch is “a very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.”

“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,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also again attacked British Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit, saying he told her “how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done.”

“A disaster!” he continued. “I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…..Thank you, Mr. President!”

Darroch reportedly described Trump as “incompetent” and “inept” in memos and notes sent to the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Barroch also described conflicts within the Trump administration as “knife fights” and said he doesn’t believe the White House will “ever look competent.”

Trump tweeted on Monday after the leaked cables were reported that he would “no longer deal with” Darroch.

“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,” he said.

Shortly after Trump’s tweet, an administration official said Darroch was disinvited from a Monday night dinner hosted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Trump and the emir of Qatar.

[The Hill]

Trump says administration will ‘no longer deal with’ British ambassador

President Donald Trump on Monday trashed Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain and threatened to “no longer deal with” the British ambassador to Washington following leaks of the envoy’s reportedly harsh assessment of Trump’s administration.

“I have been very critical about the way the U.K. and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “What a mess she and her representatives have created. 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 U.S. We will no longer deal with him,” Trump continued. “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!”

The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, reported on Saturday that Ambassador Kim Darroch leveled various insults against Trump and his White House in memos to London dating back to 2017.

“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 of the documents, according to the Mail.

A U.K. government spokesperson said in response to Trump’s tweets that London had been in touch with Washington to make clear “how unfortunate this leak is.”

“The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship,” the spokesperson said.

“At the same time, we have also underlined the importance of ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country. Sir Kim Darroch continues to have the Prime Minister’s full support.”

“The U.K. has a special and enduring relationship with the U.S. based on our long history and commitment to shared values and that will continue to be the case.”

May’s spokesman said on Monday that Downing Street had contacted the Trump administration, “setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable” and calling the episode “a matter of regret,” Reuters reported. The British trade minister, Liam Fox, also told BBC Radio he would apologize to Ivanka Trump on his scheduled visit to Washington during their planned meeting.

Speaking to reporters in New Jersey on Sunday, Trump asserted that Darroch “has not served the U.K. well,” adding, “We’re not big fans of that man.”

In a news conference with May last month during his first state visit to Britain, Trump praised the outgoing prime minister as “probably a better negotiator than I am,” and said she deserved “a lot of credit” for her handling of Brexit.

Trump’s tweet immediately raised questions about the legal and diplomatic standing of Darroch, including whether the president’s tweet essentially declared the British ambassador “persona non grata.” That term is used in diplomatic circles when a country wants to kick out a foreign official or sometimes other foreigners or prevent them from entering.

Asked whether it was interpreting Trump’s tweet as declaring Darroch persona non grata, the State Department referred POLITICO to the White House. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A former senior State Department official, however, told POLITICO that he would not interpret the tweet as having the effect of “PNG’ing” someone — at least not yet. What’s more likely is that State Department and White House officials will confer on whether to take the president’s tweet as an official instruction and, if so, tell everyone across the federal government not to engage with Darroch, the former official said. That alone could lead Britain to pull the ambassador out of Washington.

If a decision is made at higher levels to declare Darroch persona non grata, it will have to be formally communicated to him by the State Department in a special notice, the former senior department official said.

[Politico]

Trump likens Irish border to wall between US and Mexico

Donald Trump has started his visit to Ireland by comparing its post-Brexit border with Northern Ireland to the US border with Mexico, along which he wants to build a permanent wall.

Trump, sitting next to a visibly uncomfortable taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, waded into the Brexit debate minutes after Air Force One touched down at Shannon airport on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border,” he said at a joint press conference. “I mean, we have a border situation in the United States, and you have one over here. But I hear it’s going to work out very well here.”

Varadkar interjected that Ireland wished to avoid a border or a wall, a keystone of Irish government policy.

“I think you do, I think you do,” Trump said. “The way it works now is good, you want to try and to keep it that way. I know that’s a big point of contention with respect to Brexit. I’m sure it’s going to work out very well. I know they’re focused very heavily on it.”

In London on Tuesday Trump met the Brexiter politicians Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson, all of whom have played down the idea that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will be a problem after the UK leaves the EU.

Trump echoed their confidence in Shannon. “There are a lot of good minds thinking about how to do it and it’s going to be just fine. It ultimately could even be very, very good for Ireland. The border will work out.”

The Irish government has mounted an intense, three-year diplomatic effort arguing the opposite, that Brexit threatens peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland.

The US president’s comments were an awkward start to what is expected to be a low-key end to his visit to Europe, with much of his time spent at his golf and hotel resort in Doonbeg, County Clare. From Shannon airport he took a short helicopter ride to his resort on the Atlantic coast.

Addressing the media after Trump’s departure, Varadkar said he explained the history of the border and the Troubles in their private meeting. “We talked Brexit. President Trump shares our objective to keep the border open.” He said Trump had not elaborated on why he thought Brexit could benefit Ireland.

The two leaders also discussed trade, visas and taxes paid by US corporations with operations in Ireland.

The Irish president, Michael D Higgins, made an unexpected intervention on the eve of the visit by calling Trump’s policy on the climate emergency “regressive and pernicious”, a critique protesters will echo at rallies in Shannon and Dublin.

Trump told reporters he was unaware of Higgins’ comments and reiterated that the US had enjoyed cleaner air and water since he became president, a claim he also made in London.

After three days of pomp, pageantry and politics during his state visit to Britain, Trump and his entourage, which includes his wife, Melania, and his four adult children, will be mostly out of the public gaze in the remote, windswept landscape of Loop Head peninsula.

On Thursday, Trump will travel to France for D-day commemorations before returning to Doonbeg, where he is due to play a round of golf on Friday before flying home.

The Irish police deployed 1,500 uniformed officers plus 500 members of specialised units, including divers and armed and air support, to secure Shannon airport and Doonbeg.

Trump’s 162-hectare (400 acre) resort was in lockdown and closed to the public. Newly installed surveillance cameras with night-vision capability fed images to a police control room.

Roads to the adjacent village of Doonbeg remained open. Locals have erected US flags and expressed hope Trump would visit one of their pubs, despite him being teetotal.

The resort employs more than 300 people during summer and is an economic lifeline for the region. Fr Joe Haugh, the parish priest, said: “The people are 99.9% behind him.”

Elsewhere, there were protests by individuals and groups opposed to the US president’s record on the environment and the rights of women, immigrants, ethnic minorities and LGBT people.

Demonstrators set up a “peace camp” outside Shannon airport, and the Trump blimp used by protesters in London was due to appear at a rally in Dublin on Thursday.

The visit has created a political and diplomatic challenge for the Irish government. Trump is not popular in Ireland. Varadkar reportedly asked to have the meeting at Shannon airport, a neutral venue, rather than in Trump’s resort.

The hosts, however, are keen to lobby the US president over trade, visas for Irish workers and support for the peace process. They also want to explain the potential impact of Brexit on the border and try to placate Trump over Ireland’s low-tax regime and use of Huawei technology in the new 5G network.

Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, sought a delicate balance when asked about Higgins’ criticism of Trump’s climate policies. The Irish president caught the mood of the Irish people quite well, he told RTÉ, but regressive was “a better adjective” than pernicious.

The hosts will be hoping Trump does not broach a source of personal irritation. Environmental objections have stalled a sea barrier he wishes to build to protect his resort from erosion. The US president has described the battle as an “unpleasant experience”.

[The Guardian]

Trump Lands In U.K. For State Visit, And Insults London’s Mayor

President Trump received a royal salute as he arrived in Britain for a state visit Monday, making his way to Buckingham Palace to greet Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. Scripted to the minute, the carefully choreographed visit also included a review of an honor guard at the palace.

Standing on Buckingham Palace’s west terrace, Trump and first lady Melania Trump watched as rows of redcoated soldiers arrayed themselves across the palace’s garden. As a military band played the U.S. national anthem, he then walked with Prince Charles down to the lawn to inspect the guard of honor, stopping occasionally to talk with service members.

Accompanying the president was an entourage that included his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, the senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and immigration adviser Stephen Miller.

The Trumps will spend much of the day at Buckingham Palace, eating lunch with the queen and having tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. A state banquet will follow, around 7:40 p.m. local time.

Much like last summer, Trump’s visit comes as the U.K. struggles to find a way to exit the European Union. And on Tuesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, who will leave office this month after failing to reach a deal that was politically palatable in both the U.K. and the EU.

On Wednesday, the Trumps will take part in a D-Day ceremony in Portsmouth, England. From there, they are scheduled to make a stop in Ireland before flying to France for a brief visit with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The goal of the U.K. visit, the White House says, is to “secure a stronger and more prosperous international relationship.” It adds that while in England, Trump plans to discuss a new trade agreement with the U.K. as it negotiates the severing of ties with the European Union.

Another chief topic will be security, from the fight against ISIS to America’s contentious relationship with China and Iran, as well as the situation in North Korea.

The state visit might be more officious and formal than Trump’s tour of the U.K. last summer, but that didn’t stop the president from insulting London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter as he arrived — just as he did last June.

“He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” Trump said. The president added that Khan “reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job — only half his height.”

The clash started over the weekend, when Khan said the U.K. was being “un-British” in hosting and celebrating Trump. Writing in The Observer newspaper, the mayor cited Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally in Virginia, his immigration policies and other factors.

The U.S. president, Khan said, is part of a global threat that sows dangerous divisiveness and wins power through fear.

As NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports from London, “Khan said Trump’s electoral tactics — along with leaders such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán — recall the quote: ‘divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century.’ “

After arriving for his multiday state visit, Trump also complained that because Fox News was not available, he had to watch CNN.

The president tweeted:

“Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?”

[NPR]

Trump denies calling Meghan ‘nasty’ despite audio recording

US President Donald Trump has denied calling the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, “nasty” despite the comments being recorded.

“I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty’,” he tweeted on Sunday, adding: “Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!”

Mr Trump made his remarks about the duchess in a Sun newspaper interviewahead of his state visit to the UK.

The US former actress has been a vocal critic of Mr Trump.

She supported his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election and has referred to him as “divisive” and a “misogynist”.

Told of her comments during his interview with the Sun, President Trump said it was the first time he had heard them.

“I didn’t know that. What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty,” he said.

He went on to say that he was glad she had joined the royal family and he believed she would make a “very good” princess.

“It is nice, and I am sure she will do excellently,” he said.

On Saturday the Sun posted an audio recording of the interview on its website.

Following Mr Trump’s denial on Twitter the day after the interview was published, several commentators pointed out that the remarks were on tape.

The duchess, married to Britain’s Prince Harry, gave birth to the couple’s first child in May. She is on maternity leave and not expected to meet President Trump during his visit from 3 to 5 June.

[BBC]

Trump calls Meghan Markle ‘nasty’ ahead of London visit

President Trump said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was “nasty” ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump told The Sun.

The American actress called Trump “misogynistic” and said she would consider remaining in Canada where she was filming if he won the 2016 presidential election. She married Prince Harry in May 2018 and gave birth to their first child earlier this month.

President Trump said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was “nasty” ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump told The Sun.

The American actress called Trump “misogynistic” and said she would consider remaining in Canada where she was filming if he won the 2016 presidential election. She married Prince Harry in May 2018 and gave birth to their first child earlier this month.

Meghan, who is still on maternity leave, is not expected to meet with Trump during his visit.

[Washington Examiner]

Trump plays down North Korea’s missile test, putting him at odds with Abe

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday he doesn’t view North Korea’s short range missile tests as disturbing, a view deeply at odds with his Japanese hosts and in conflict with statements made a day earlier by his national security adviser.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

This is a major blow ahead of his meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which are set to begin in a few hours.

The Japanese government has said North Korea’s recent test of short range missiles violated UN resolutions — a determination that national security adviser John Bolton agreed with in Tokyo on Saturday during a briefing with reporters before Trump arrived in Japan.

In his tweet, Trump went on to say he smiled when North Korea called former Vice President Joe Biden a low IQ individual.

“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan (sic) a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”

[CNN]

Trump breaks with Bolton and Abe on North Korea’s missile tests

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted two tests of short-range ballistic missiles, ending an 18-month break in provocations. Many analysts viewed the tests as (literal) warning shots to Trump that Pyongyang is very, very unhappy that months of nuclear talks have produced few tangible results.

The two tests prompted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton to tell reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” North Korea violated United Nations resolutions barring such launches, effectively making the case that they were a severe provocation.

But Trump, who has spent months trying to strike a nuclear deal with Kim, brushed those concerns aside.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently,” Trump said, with Bolton sitting only a few feet away during the joint press conference with Abe. “There have been no ballistic missiles going out,” he continued, going against even the Pentagon’s assessment. “There have been no long-range missiles going out. And I think that someday we’ll have a deal. I’m not in a rush.”

The Japanese prime minister had a different take, though. “North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile. This is violating the Security Council resolution,” Abe said. “So my reaction is, as I said earlier on, it is of great regret,” he continued, making sure still to give credit to Trump for engaging diplomatically with Kim.

That moment was, to put it mildly, troubling.

Japan, a staunch US ally, is the country that is among the most directly threatened by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile programs. North Korea views Japan, its former colonizer, as a mortal enemy, and many of the missiles the country tests land near — or even fly directly over — Japan (although the last two tests didn’t threaten Japan at all).

At a time like this, the US president would normally stand firmly alongside the Japanese prime minister and state unequivocally that North Korea should stop conducting tests of weapons that could kill thousands of Japanese people. Instead, Trump’s avid desire for a deal with Kim led to a massive break in Washington and Tokyo’s position on a top national security issue for both capitals.

Put together, Monday’s press conference was an unmitigated disaster for Trump. It would be an extraordinary event if it weren’t already so ordinary.

[Vox]

Reality

Remember Trump said North Korea promised him no more missile launches, after their 2018 summit.


Trump denies North Korea has set off any rockets — 24 hours after admitting they shot off ‘some small weapons’

President Donald Trump denied his own intelligence information about North Korea during a press conference in Japan Monday. Oddly, however, the comment came just 24 hours after he called the rockets “some small weapons.”

According to White House correspondent from CBS News, Mark Knoller, Trump told the press he feels “a lot of good things will come from North Korea.”

He went on to claim that the country hasn’t had any rocket testing or nuclear testing since he began negotiating with them.

It’s unclear if Trump is neglecting his national security briefings, ignoring them or forgot about the two times North Korea fired rockets in the wake of his last meeting with the dictator. The moment came just 24 hours after Trump claimed that North Korea shot off “some small weapons.”

The last missile test was May 9, 2019, when the country launched two short-range ballistic missiles. May 4, 2019, North Korea launched several short-range projectiles from the east coast of the country. The New York Times also noted that it’s possible one of the missiles was a Russian Iskander missile, which can make corrections in flight to its target.

But just 24 hours ago, Trump said something entirely different.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump said. According to theAssociated Press, the message contradicts Trump’s own national security advisor, John Bolton, who called the short-range missiles a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

[Raw Story]

Trump declares national emergency over threats against US technology amid campaign against Huawei

President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared a national emergency over threats against American technology, the White House said.

The move, done via executive order, authorized the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in consultation with other top officials, to block transactions that involve information or communications technology that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”

Following the order, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the addition of Huawei Technologies and its affiliates to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List, making it more difficult for the Chinese telecom giant to conduct business with U.S. companies.

The addition means that U.S. companies cannot sell or transfer technology to Huawei without a license issued by the BIS. That could make it harder for Huawei to do business, as it depends on some U.S. suppliers for parts.

President Donald Trump backed the decision, which will “prevent American technology from being used by foreign owned entities in ways that potentially undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The announcement has been under discussion for a year. It comes as the U.S and China remain locked in a trade dispute and could escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The order had been opposed by small rural carriers, who continued to rely on Huawei equipment even after it was largely dropped by the larger telecommunications companies.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote that the administration will “protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States.”

The Trump administration has pushed allies around the world not to adopt the company’s next generation 5G network technology, which American officials have warned could be used for spying by the Chinese. Those efforts have had mixed results in Europe, where several countries declined to stop doing business with the company.

Huawei has forcefully denied allegations that it is not independent from the Chinese government.

In recent months, the U.S. has taken a number of steps against the firm.

In January, the Department of Justice announced a slew of charges against two units of the company, including for stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. And both Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese technology firm, were barred from most U.S. government contract work by the 2019 Defense Authorization Act.

In December, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to serve an extradition request from the U.S. government, which has alleged that the company defrauded several banks by concealing payments from Iran in violation of sanctions against that country.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the executive order. Earlier Wednesday, David Wang, an executive at the company, told The Wall Street Journal that such an order would be misguided.

[NBC News]

Trump praises ‘respected’ Hungary Dictator Viktor Orbán

At a press conference, the US president said Mr Orbán was “respected all over Europe” and had “kept [Hungary] safe”.

The conservative Hungarian premier is a controversial figure over his stances on immigration, press freedom and Russia.

Critics of the visit, including some Republicans, argue that Mr Orbán has eroded democracy in Hungary.

Why is Orbán visiting?

US officials say the two leaders had a private meeting aimed at strengthening American “re-engagement” in central Europe, and to negotiate trade deals in arms and energy.Hungary PM defiant as EU debates action

Orbán’s spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, said in a statement that both countries have “much that keeps us close”, including “Nato, security co-operation, energy security, migration, pro-family policies, and the protection of our Judeo-Christian heritage”.

Why is the visit controversial?

Mr Orbán is a divisive figure in European politics and has been criticised for moves to consolidate power and curb the power of the judiciary and media.

Like Mr Trump, he is tough on immigration.

Critics also worry about his desire to strengthen Hungary’s ties with Russia.

He has been shunned by US presidents in the past. He first visited in 2001 during his initial term as prime minister, but was refused a meeting with President Bush.

In a joint letter, several Democrat lawmakers condemned the visit, saying Mr Orbán “represents so many things that are antithetical to core American values”.

What did Trump and Orbán say?

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said: “I know he’s a tough man, but he’s a respected man, and he’s done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration.”

Mr Orbán, in response, said Hungary was “proud to stand together” with the US “on fighting illegal migration, on terrorism and protecting Christian communities all around the world”.

[BBC]

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