The Independent . August 27, 2020, 11:23 AM GMT+2
Donald Trump exploded with anger at one of his most senior aides about missing a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a former No 10 official.
The US president’s rant about the missed call happened “right in front” of former prime minister Theresa May in Washington, her ex-chief of staff Nick Timothy has revealed.
Mr Timothy spoke about a “fairly extraordinary” lunch during which Mr Trump shouted at his then-national security advisor Michael Flynn.
“Somebody just mentioned in passing that Vladimir Putin had asked for a call with him, and right in front us he absolutely shouted down Mike Flynn,” he said.
“Like really shouted. This was at a formal dinner with butlers and fancy crockery – and he was properly shouting at him down the table.”
Mr Timothy said the president yelled: “If Putin wants a call with me you just put him through.”
Speaking on the What Were They Thinking? podcast, the former Downing Street figure added: “The whole thing was very a strange experience.
“And not especially reassuring about the state of [Trump’s] mind, or the stability of decision-making in the White House.”
Mr Timothy – No 10 chief of staff between 2016 and 2017 before resigning in the wake of the 2017 general election – also discussed the controversy over Huawei and recent Conservative government attitudes to both the US and China.
Ms May’s senior aide said he was surprised his former boss allowed Huawei a role in developing Britain’s 5G infrastructure, criticising her 2019 decision to approve the Chinese firm as “very, very unwise”.
Theresa May with chief of staff Nick Timothy in 2016 (Reuters)
He described Ms May had been a “Sino-sceptic” during her time in charge at the Home Office and her first year as prime minister.
Mr Timothy also said former chancellor George Osborne had been mistaken in developing a strategy to make Britain “China’s best friend in the West”.
He said: “The problem with that is … you can’t go all in with China without undermining your security relationship with America. China doesn’t share western values, and its strategy is, I’m afraid, one of domination.”