Boris Johnson stops short of condemning Trump over attacks on UK ambassador


British politician Boris Johnson, who is running to succeed Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayTrump: ‘Wacky’ UK ambassador a ‘very stupid guy’ Trump says he will ‘no longer deal with’ UK’s ambassador to US Theresa May calls leaked memos critical of Trump ‘a matter of regret’ MORE as prime minister, on Tuesday stopped short of condemning President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham open to investigating Acosta-Epstein plea deal Sustaining progress with Mexico on migration Government to issue licenses for business with Huawei MORE over his attacks of U.K. Ambassador Kim Darroch.

Pressed repeatedly during a televised debate whether it was right for Trump to assail Darroch in response to leaked memos in which he was critical of the president, Johnson replied that Trump had been “dragged into a British political debate.”

“I don’t necessarily think it was the right thing for him to do,” Johnson added.

The former foreign minister and London mayor refused to say whether he would keep Darroch in his post, calling the question “presumptuous” and noting the ambassador is scheduled to retire by the end of the year.

Johnson says he has “a very good relationship with the White House,” something he said is critical for maintaining close ties between the U.S. and U.K. 

Johnson’s response stood in contrast to his opponent, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who called Trump’s comments “disrespectful” and pledged that if he is elected “our ambassador stays.”

As a staunch supporter of Brexit, Johnson has pledged to quickly broker a trade deal with the U.S. and has sought to curry favor with the Trump administration. Trump, in turn, has praised Johnson and said he would make an “excellent” prime minister.

Johnson’s comments came after Trump escalated his attacks on Darroch, calling him a “pompous fool” and “very stupid.”

The president has been incensed by the leaked cables, which showed the ambassador described Trump as “inept” and questioned whether his presidency would end in disaster.

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