July 12, 2019 / 2:13 PM / a month ago

Trump says he wishes British ambassador well

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts an event honoring those working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs Border Protection at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday offered good wishes to Britain’s former ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, who resigned this week after stinging criticism from the Republican president following leaked diplomatic cables.

Memos from Darroch describing the Trump administration as inept were leaked to a British newspaper, infuriating Trump, who launched a Twitter attack on Tuesday on both the envoy and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who had given Darroch her full support. Darroch resigned on Wednesday.

“I wish the British ambassador well,” Trump told reporters on Friday as he left the White House to head to Wisconsin. “But they’ve got to stop their leaking problems there, just like they have to stop them in our country.”

In his Twitter storm on Tuesday, Trump described the ambassador as “wacky,” “a very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.”

Trump did not directly address his change of tone on Friday, but said “some people just told me ... he actually said very good things about me.”

He mentioned Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who said in a tweet on Wednesday that Darroch “always understood the strength of President Trump and referred to him as the ‘Terminator’ who is indestructible and will most likely be reelected.”

According to Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, which reported on Darroch’s memos, the envoy wrote there was a “credible path” for Trump winning a second term. He said Trump may “emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator.”

Britain’s trade minister, Liam Fox, told reporters on Wednesday that the leaking of Darroch’s confidential memos was an attempt to damage either the relationship between Britain and the United States or the envoy himself.

Reporting by Nandita Bose; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernadette Baum and Susan Thomas

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