LONDON — British Ambassador Kim Darroch’s leaked cables calling President Trump “inept” put the diplomat in Trump’s crosshairs this week, costing him his posting in Washington.
But Darroch wasn’t the only target of Trump’s pointed barbs. Trump used the episode to also insult outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May for her “failed Brexit negotiation” and slammed her for not taking his advice on the deal. “She went her own foolish way — was unable to get it done. A disaster!” he tweeted.
It was the latest provocation from the president, whose interactions with May have featured some ups, but many more downs. Here’s a timeline of the tumultuous (special) relationship:
January, 2017: The new year in Britain kicked off with thousands of anti-Trump protesters taking to the streets to express solidarity with Americans who were appalled at the history of Trump’s alleged mistreatment of women and his vow to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Despite the demonstrations, May sought to uphold the historically close relations between London and Washington and became the first world leader to meet with Trump in the Oval Office. She even came bearing gifts for the Trump family. Some British lawmakers disapproved of May’s efforts.
As May was snapped holding hands with Trump and discussing new political opportunities, lawmakers back home criticized her for seeking to strengthen ties with a president who they considered divisive.
November, 2017: Although the Trump-May relationship kicked-off warmly, by November they had gotten frosty. Trump triggered outrage in Britain when he retweeted a series of unverified anti-Muslim video clips from far-right group Britain First to his millions of followers.
His actions stunned social media users and the British government which rebuked his actions. A spokesperson for May said that it was “wrong for the president” to have acted in such a manner.
Trump responded to the British government’s criticism by blasting May on Twitter — but unfortunately, he tweeted at the wrong woman.
When he eventually did tweet the correct Theresa May, the president wrote: “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”
Trump later seemed to express regret for promoting the hate group, saying in an interview with Piers Morgan: “If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize if you’d like me to do that.”
July, 2018: Trump’s first official working visit to Britain featured an inflatable orange baby flying above parliament and prompted a “carnival of resistance” across the capital — although he was strategically kept away from crowds in the city center.
Then came Trump’s surprise interview with British tabloid, The Sun, in which he accused May of wrecking Brexit and called her out for ignoring his advice. “She didn’t listen to me,” he said while using the same interview to praise May’s rival, Boris Johnson — who is now in the running to replace her this summer.
Trump’s public attack on May stunned 10 Downing Street and was humiliating for the prime minister who, just an hour before, had spoken of her hope to strike a successful trade agreement that benefited both nations.
May, 2019: Tearful and seemingly defeated, Theresa May resigned from her position but confirmed she would stay on as prime minister until later in the summer, meaning she would still be the host of Trump’s highly polarizing state visit the following month. Speaking outside the White House, Trump gave May a tepid boost, describing May as a “good woman” and said that “she worked very hard.”
June, 2019: Trump’s State visit to the United Kingdom was once again met with mass protests across the capital. House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said Trump, unlike American presidents before him, would not be welcome to address lawmakers. The baby blimp took to the skies once again. An ongoing Trump feud with London mayor, Sadiq Khan, deepened.
In a conference with May, Trump appeared to suggest that the National Health Service would be on the table during trade talks — a statement that instantly angered Britons who are fiercely protective of their national health service system. Video footage of May explaining to Trump what the NHS acronym stood for also made the rounds on Twitter.
Trump used a joint news conference to remind May that she should have taken his advice on how to handle Brexit. “I seem to remember the president suggested that I sued the European Union, which we didn’t do,” May said.
When asked about the future of the U.K., Trump said both Johnson and Jeremy Hunt would “do a very good job” as Prime Minister.
July, 2019: In recent days, the special relationship has tanked, on the wake of Darroch’s leaked cables that labeled the Trump administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional.”
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter — adding that he was most impressed with Queen Elizabeth II.