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Donald Trump ally Boris Johnson says the president is ‘failing to lead’

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  • Donald Trump is close to losing the support of the United States’ closest ally after a growing series of public rows.
  • The president reportedly slammed down the phone on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during what officials described as an “apoplectic” call.
  • In recent weeks Johnson and senior members of his government have staged repeated public criticisms of Trump and his administration.
  • Johnson has accused Trump of “failing to lead” and “letting the air out of the tires of the world economy.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Donald Trump’s previously close relationship with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks close to collapse, following new revelations that the president slammed down the phone on him.

Trump’s behaviour during last week’s call was described by officials as “apoplectic,” and Johnson has now reportedly shelved plans for an imminent visit to Washington.

Johnson had been one of Trump’s few close international allies, with the president labelling Johnson “fantastic,” a “good man” and “Britain Trump.”

However, relations broke down following a series of high-profile threats from Trump and a series of pointed interventions against Trump by Johnson and senior members of his government.

Here’s how Trump is losing the support of the leader of the United States’ closest international ally.

Trump vented his fury with Boris Johnson during an ‘apoplectic’ phone call

Donald Trump


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President Donald Trump reportedly slammed the phone down on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week after what officials described as an “apoplectic” call last week.

The call was ended by Trump “slamming the phone down” on Johnson, according to the Evening Standard.

The call, which one source described to the Financial Times as “very difficult,” came after Johnson defied Trump and allowed Chinese telecoms company Huawei the rights to develop the UK’s 5G network.

Trump’s fury was triggered by Johnson backing Huawei despite multiple threats by Trump and his allies that the United States would withdraw security co-operation with the UK if the deal went ahead.

Trump’s threats reportedly “irritated” the UK government, with Johnson frustrated at the president’s failure to suggest any alternatives to the deal.

Following the call, US Vice President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration had made its disappointment at the UK “very clear to them”.

The official UK account of the call gives a hint of the disagreement, stating that “the Prime Minister underlined the importance of like-minded countries working together to diversify the market and break the dominance of a small number of companies.”

The latest account of tensions between the two allies comes as The Sun newspaper reported on Friday that Johnson has pushed his planned trip to Washington, which was due to take place imminently, back until March and it “may be pushed back still further.”

A spokesperson for Johnson declined to comment on the call.

Johnson says Trump is ‘failing to lead’ and ‘letting the air out of the tires of the world economy’

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Last month Trump threatened a new trade war with European countries over their continued support for the Iran nuclear deal.

The threats were met with a stark response from Johnson this week.

The prime minister used his first major speech on Brexit since the general election to hit back at the president’s threats, launching a barely coded attack on President Trump and his “protectionist” economic strategy.

“Free trade is being choked,” Johnson told an event in London on Monday, referencing ongoing trade battles between Washington and China.

“And that is no fault of the people, that’s no fault of individual consumers. I am afraid it is the politicians who are failing to lead.”

In a clear barb at Trump and his threats to launch a new trade war with Europe, Johnson added that “from Brussels to China to Washington, tariffs are being waved around like cudgels, even in debates on foreign policy where frankly they have no place.”

Johnson calls Trump’s Iran attack “dangerous” and warns him against committing a war crime

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Boris Johnson and Donald Trump

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Trump’s decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani last month was quickly criticised by Johnson’s administration, with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warning that further conflict with Iran is “in none of our interests.”

Raab subsequently warned that terrorists “would be the only winners” of any conflict with the West.

Trump’s threats to target Iranian cultural sites were also criticised by Johnson, with his spokesperson telling reporters in London that any attempt to do so would be a war crime.

Trump accused of withdrawing ‘from its leadership around the world’

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Johnson’s administration’s most outspoken criticism of Trump came last month by the UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. 

Wallace said that Trump’s isolationist foreign policy meant that the UK would have to consider ending its continued support for US-led interventions.

“I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world,” he told The Sunday Times.

He added: “The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be.”

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