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Trump launches fresh onslaught on 'wacky' UK ambassador

Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Donald Trump has dramatically stepped up the war of words over Britain's US ambassador, branding him a "pompous fool".

In his latest explosive tweets, the president complained that Sir Kim Darroch was a "very stupid guy" who had been foisted on the US.

He also again attacked Theresa May over Brexit, accusing her of ignoring his advice and "going her own foolish way".

His latest intervention came as the Cabinet reiterated its full support for Sir Kim following the leak of a series of diplomatic dispatches in which he branded the US administration as "inept".

Mr Trump said: "The wacky ambassador that the UK 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.

"Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger.

"Thank you, Mr President!"

Downing Street said Sir Kim remained in post after Mr Trump warned on Monday the White House would have nothing more to do with him.

The first indication of that became evident when the ambassador was "uninvited" to a White House dinner on Monday evening held in honour of the Emir of Qatar.

It was reported he had also decided not to attend a meeting between International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and the president's daughter, Ivanka, in Washington on Tuesday.

Mrs May briefed senior ministers on the extraordinary transatlantic row at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet in Downing Street.

While the Prime Minister again denounced the leak of Sir Kim's dispatches as "unacceptable", she stressed it was important ambassadors were able to provide "honest, unvarnished" advice to ministers.

"She said we had made clear to the US how unfortunate that this leak is and that the extracts were selective and do not reflect the closeness of our relationship," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

"The Prime Minister said that at the same time - while the views expressed in the documents are not necessarily the views of ministers or the Government, it is hugely important that ambassadors are able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country.

"She said therefore it is absolutely right that we continue to give Sir Kim Darroch our full support.

"The ambassador remains in post and continues to carry out his duties with the full support of the PM."

Mr Trump's outspoken attack, the most strident public criticism of a British prime minister by a US president in decades, caused dismay in Whitehall.

It comes just a month after the Government rolled out the red carpet for the president for a state visit in which he praised the enduring strength of the "special relationship".

Senior figures lined up to insist the ministers were right to stand up for Sir Kim and warned the Government must not bow to US pressure.

Tory former foreign secretary Lord Hague told the BBC: "You can't change an ambassador at the demand of a host country."

Sir Christopher Meyer, former ambassador to the US, said Mr Trump's reaction to the leak underlined the president's "sensitivity" which Sir Kim had highlighted in his reports.

Sir Christopher said there was "range of possible villains" who might have been responsible for passing his dispatches to the press.

"It was clearly somebody who set out, deliberately, to sabotage Sir Kim's ambassadorship, to make his position untenable, and to have him replaced by somebody more congenial to the leaker," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Foreign Office, which originally described the leak as "mischievous", launched a formal leak inquiry on Sunday.

In the memos, obtained by The Mail On Sunday, Sir Kim suggested that in order to communicate with the president "you need to make your points simple, even blunt".

In a scathing assessment of the White House, he said: "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."