- A new report by the reporter Carl Bernstein says President Donald Trump was described as “humiliating and bullying” in a series of phone calls with Theresa May, the UK prime minister who served until 2019.
- Sources familiar with Trump’s calls with world leaders said he used his most “vicious” attacks on female world leaders like May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
- Trump is said to have called May a “fool” and lambasted her handling of Brexit and other issues.
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President Donald Trump subjected Theresa May to “humiliating and bullying” phone calls while she was the UK prime minister in which he called her a “fool,” sources said in a new report.
The report for CNN by Carl Bernstein — the reporter best known for helping break the Watergate scandal in the 1970s — quoted sources familiar with Trump’s calls with world leaders as saying he was “near-sadistic” when talking to female counterparts and saved his “most vicious attacks” for leaders like May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump is said to have called May a “fool” and been “humiliating and bullying” toward her while lambasting her handling of Brexit, immigration, and NATO, Bernstein reports.
“He’d get agitated about something with Theresa May, then he’d get nasty with her on the phone call,” a source familiar with their phone calls said.
Trump was publicly critical of May’s handling of Brexit during her time as UK prime minister from 2016 to 2019.
In July 2018, he said May’s plans for relatively close trading ties with the European Union would “kill” hopes of a trade deal with the US. May in the same month said Trump had told her to sue the EU rather than negotiate with the bloc.
John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser during part of May’s time in office, in his memoir accused May’s government of having “disastrously mishandled” the UK’s exit from the EU.
Bernstein’s report suggested Merkel had stayed calm when dealing with Trump but May seemed “flustered and nervous” about the president’s treatment of her.
“He clearly intimidated her and meant to,” one source familiar with the phone calls said in Bernstein’s report.
His treatment of May and Merkel stood in stark contrast to his behavior toward leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the report suggests.
“He’s toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with,” one source said.
May, who resigned as prime minister last year and was succeeded by Boris Johnson, faced criticism in the UK that she did not sufficiently stand up to Trump during her time in office.
In 2017, opposition parties accused of her being weak in her response to Trump’s efforts to temporarily restrict entry to the US by people arriving from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations.