Boris Johnson says he finds it 'hard to disagree' with Trump's attack on May

  • Boris Johnson refuses to criticise Donald Trump after he brands Theresa May "foolish" and her handling of Brexit a "mess."
  • "I can't dissent from that," Johnson told Politico when asked about Trump's comments.
  • The comments come after Johnson's colleagues accused the frontrunner to be prime minister of throwing the UK's ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, "under the bus."
  • The opposition Labour party called him a "Donald Trump patsy."

LONDON — Boris Johnson finds it "hard to disagree" with Donald Trump's attack on Theresa May, in which the president labeled her "foolish" and her handling of Brexit a "mess."

The frontrunner to replace May as Conservative party leader prime minister later this month, told Politico that he "can't dissent" from Trump's comments.

"I can't dissent from that," he said when asked about Trump's description of her deal as a "disaster."

He added: "When it comes to the context of what the president has said about the Brexit deal, I find it hard to disagree."

Pressed by Politico on whether it was right for Trump to personally criticise the prime minister, Johnson replied: "I think most people feel … I don't want anybody else telling us what to do.

"Or anybody else criticizing our government, I suppose is my feeling. But if you ask me whether I think the Brexit negotiations have been brilliantly handled, I don't think so."

The comments came after Johnson's colleagues accused him of throwing the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States "under a bus".

Read more: Boris Johnson called a 'Donald Trump patsy' after throwing the UK's ambassador to US 'under a bus'

Johnson was  branded "contemptible" by his colleagues and a "Donald Trump patsy" by his opponents, after reports suggested his refusal to back Sir Kim Darroch forced the UK's ambassador to the US to resign.

Darroch was forced out on Wednesday, saying that it was "impossible" for him to remain in post after a public row with the US President.

The UK's top diplomat in Washington resigned after confidential memos he wrote labeling Trump's administration "dysfunctional" and "incompetent" were leaked to the press over the weekend.

Johnson on Tuesdayrefused to say he should remain in post,after the US president tweeted a series of attacks on Darroch as "pompous," and "stupid" and declared that the White House would no longer work with him.

Speaking during a televised leadership debate on ITV, Johnson also refused to criticise Trump for publicly insulting Prime Minister May, saying only that the president had been "dragged into a British political debate."

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President Trump and Theresa May in joint Chequers press conference
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President Trump and Theresa May in joint Chequers press conference
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May poses for photographs with U.S. President Donald Trump at Chequers near Aylesbury, Britain July 13, 2018. Jack Taylor/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets U.S. President Donald Trump at Chequers near Aylesbury, Britain July 13, 2018. Jack Taylor/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for a joint news conference in the grounds of Chequers near Aylesbury, Britain July 13, 2018. Jack Taylor/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump walk in the grounds of Chequers near Aylesbury, Britain July 13, 2018. Jack Taylor/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump walk to a joint news conference at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump walk away after holding a joint news conference at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May prior to a joint press conference at Chequers, near Aylesbury, Britain July 13, 2018. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May hold a press conference after their meeting at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
British Prime Minister Theresa May listens as she and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a press conference after their meeting at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump (L) gestures as he speaks next to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (R) during a press conference following their meeting at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence, near Ellesborough, northwest of London on July 13, 2018 on the second day of Trump's UK visit. - US President Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, plunging the transatlantic 'special relationship' to a new low as they prepared to meet Friday on the second day of his tumultuous trip to Britain. (Photo by Jack Taylor / POOL / Getty Images) (Photo credit should read JACK TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a press conference with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (R) following their meeting at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence, near Ellesborough, northwest of London on July 13, 2018 on the second day of Trump's UK visit. - US President Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, plunging the transatlantic 'special relationship' to a new low as they prepared to meet Friday on the second day of his tumultuous trip to Britain. (Photo by Jack Taylor / POOL / Getty Images) (Photo credit should read JACK TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images)
AYLESBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Prime Minister Theresa May holds bi-lateral talks with U.S. President Donald Trump at Chequers on July 13, 2018 in Aylesbury, England. US President, Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with British Prime Minister, Theresa May at her grace-and-favour country residence, Chequers. Earlier British newspaper, The Sun, revealed criticisms of Theresa May and her Brexit policy made by President Trump in an exclusive interview. Later today The President and First Lady will join Her Majesty for tea at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Jack Taylor-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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A senior ally of Johnson told the Times: "We don't want to put the whole special relationship on the edge because of a row about one person. We do not have anything to gain from a running spat with the White House."

Johnson's refusal to back Darroch, was key to his decision to step down, the BBC reported.

Darroch's departure triggered outrage among colleagues, some of whom are backing Johnson's rival foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace May as Conservative leader and prime minister.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan accused Johnson of having "basically thrown our top diplomat under a bus."

He said that Johnson's refusal to defend Darroch was "pretty contemptible," adding that: "There are a lot of people here in the Commons who are very, very angry and feel he has lost so much respect for having done what he's done."

Conservative MP Sir Patrick McLoughlin agreed, saying: "It is unedifying to see someone who wants to be Prime Minister failing to stand up for hard working civil servants, who have done nothing wrong, under attack from foreign governments.

"Leadership involves standing up for your team. If we don't call out those who want a witch-hunt through the civil service we are complicit in creating divisions that may never heal."

The opposition Labour party also rounded on Johnson, accusing him of failing to stand up for the UK.

"Johnson is effectively behaving as a Donald Trump patsy," a spokesperson for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Wednesday.

"He won't stand up to Donald Trump and be won't stand up for Britain."

Johnson denied that he had betrayed his former colleague.

 "I can't believe they're trying to blame me for this," he told the Sun.

"It seems bizarre to me. I'm a great supporter of Kim's. I worked very well with him for years.

"I spoke to him just now to offer my good wishes. I think that he's done a superb job."

Asked why he had failed to back Darroch, during this week's ITV debate, he replied: "I don't think it's right to drag public servants' careers into the arena in that way."

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