President Donald Trump once again put British Prime Minister Theresa May in an awkward position when she was forced to denounce comments the president made over the weekend about London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Trump on Sunday mocked Khan’s response to the latest terror attack in the British capital, then doubled down on Monday by calling the London mayor’s remarks “pathetic.”
Pressed by reporters, May said on Monday that Khan “is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else.”
Lewis Lukens, the top U.S. diplomat in the U.K., appeared to share the same view.
Khan, who is London’s first Muslim mayor, also brushed off Trump’s tweets.
“He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police ― including armed officers ― on the streets,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
This week’s Twitter spat is only the latest rift in the so-called “special relationship” the U.S. has with its allies across the pond. British authorities temporarily cut off U.S. intelligence officials after sensitive details of last month’s Manchester terror attack were leaked to the American press.
“These relationships enable us to collaborate and share privileged and sensitive information that allows us to defeat terrorism and protect the public at home and abroad,” police in Manchester said. “When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families.”
May has been repeatedly criticized for not being tough enough on Trump, issuing relatively benign statements against his Muslim travel ban as well as his decision last week to exit the Paris Agreement on climate change. She could be feeling the pressure even more this week as Brits will head to the polls on Thursday to vote in a snap general election. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Monday even called on May to resign over police cuts while another Labour member of Parliament accused May of not having the “courage” to take on Trump.