US President Donald Trump lashed out for a second day at Britain's ambassador to the United States today, describing him as "wacky" and a "pompous fool," after a leak of emails critical of the American administration.
The series of tweets came hours after Prime Minister Theresa May stood by Kim Darroch amid the controversy over the release of the documents published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Darroch's forthright views — meant for consumption behind closed doors — have caused embarrassment between two countries that often celebrate having a "special relationship."
"The wacky Ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy," Trump tweeted.
Trump then combined his criticism of Darroch with a broadside at May, chiding her for failing to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.
"I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster!" Trump tweeted. "I don't know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool."
In the memos, Darroch, who has served as Britain's envoy to Washington since 2016, suggested that in order to communicate with the president, "you need to make your points simple, even blunt."
In the leaked documents he called the Trump administration's policy toward Iran "incoherent," said the president might be indebted to "dodgy Russians" and raised doubts about whether the White House "will ever look competent."
Darroch has had a close relationship with numerous Trump administration officials and the president's advisers have been frequent guests at embassy events.
An investigation is underway over the major breach of diplomatic security.
May's spokesman said the prime minister had phone Darroch to tell him he still had her full support.
But the tweets, together with a similar barrage yesterday, ratcheted up pressure on Britain's government over Darroch, who also has been accused by some Brexit-backing UK politicians of lacking enthusiasm for Britain's departure from the European Union.
The journalist who reported the leak, Isabel Oakeshott, is a strong Brexit backer and an ally of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who also is Britain's leading champion of Trump.
Trump has been supportive of Farage and once said he would "do a great job" as an ambassador to Washington.
Farage sidestepped that notion Monday, saying "I'm not a diplomat."
The tiff with Trump also put pressure on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two men vying to succeed May as Conservative leader and prime minister. Both say they will lead the UK out of the European Union and secure new trade deals around the world — notably with the United States.
Hunt, who is Britain's foreign secretary, reprimanded Trump today, tweeting that his comments were "disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country."
Hunt wrote that "allies need to treat each other with respect," and said that "if I become PM our Ambassador stays."
His tone contrasted with that of his rival, Boris Johnson. Asked about Trump's criticism of May, Johnson said, "Myself, I have said some pretty critical things about the Brexit negotiations so far."
"I think it's very important that we have a strong relationship with our most important ally," he said.
While British officials hunted for the culprit behind the leak, senior Conservative Party figure and former Foreign Secretary William Hague said the government was right to back Darroch.
"You can't change an ambassador at the demand of a host country," Hague told the BBC. "It is their job to give an honest assessment of what is happening in that country."