LONDON--U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Prime Minister Theresa May and her ambassador to Washington on Monday while Britain voiced regret for the leak of confidential memos in which the diplomat called Trump's administration "dysfunctional" and "inept."
The memos from Kim Darroch, ambassador to Washington, were divulged to a Sunday newspaper, annoying Trump and embarrassing London. "Contact has been made with the Trump administration, setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable," May's spokesman told reporters. "It is, of course, a matter of regret that this has happened."
Trump responded on Twitter by criticizing May's handling of Brexit and saying she disregarded his advice. "What a mess she and her representatives have created," he wrote. "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."
"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!" he wrote.
Hours after Trump's tweet, May's spokesman reiterated Britain's position that the leak was unfortunate and said Darroch "continues to have the prime minister’s full support."
Trade minister Liam Fox, who is visiting Washington, told BBC radio he would apologise to Trump's daughter Ivanka, whom he was due to meet. "I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way," he said. "Malicious leaks of this nature ... can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest."
It was unclear whether his message had been relayed before Trump posted his tweet. It was the U.S. president's second broadside against the British ambassador, whom he criticized on Sunday as not having "served the UK well."
Britain is hoping to strike a major trade deal with its closest ally after it leaves the European Union, an exit scheduled for Oct. 31. In confidential memos to his government dating from 2017 to the present, Darroch said reports of in-fighting in the White House were "mostly true" and last month described confusion within the administration over Trump's decision to call off a military strike on Iran.