United States President Donald Trump is once again tearing up the diplomatic norm of treading lightly in allies’ domestic politics, with his team attacking Britain’s beleaguered leader over Brexit and irritating Germany.
Trump, who has slaughtered so many sacred cows in US politics, has shown no compunction over lambasting Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Britain’s most sensitive issue, even as she sought to build a warm relationship with him.
With Britain mired in crisis ahead of its scheduled March 29 departure from the European Union, Trump said that May “didn’t listen” to his negotiating suggestions and that he was “surprised to see how badly it has all gone.”
His son, Donald Trump Jr., went further in a biting op-ed in the eurosceptic Daily Telegraph newspaper, saying that “democracy in the UK is all but dead.” The 41-year-old, seen as harboring future political ambitions, deplored that May “ignored advice from my father” and wrote: “Now, the clock has virtually run out and almost all is lost, exactly as the European elites were hoping.”
National security advisor John Bolton, who advocated Brexit before taking a job at the White House, was more diplomatic during an appearance on Sky News but said that Trump sought a resolution that “allows the United States and Britain to come to trade deals again.”
Trump’s intervention on Brexit comes just as US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a rising star in Republican circles, has annoyed the fellow ally with his outspoken criticism on issues from Iran policy to usage of telecom equipment by China’s Huawei.