National Security

Report: Trump “Berated” Boris Johnson Over Huawei

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I was wondering when this shoe was going to drop.

Trump's cabinet lackeys have downplayed Britain's decision not to ban Chinese-owned telecommunication company Huawei from their next generation of networks after spending most of the last year demanding they ban Huawei, but how does Trump himself feel about it?

We don't know exactly what was said, at least not yet, but Trump reportedly called British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attacked him for the decision.

Donald Trump berated Boris Johnson during a heated phone call, after the British prime minister rejected the U.S. president’s request to ban Huawei Technologies Co. from its next-generation broadband networks.

Trump had spent months trying to persuade the British government not to allow the Chinese company to take a role in the U.K.’s 5G networks and was unhappy that Johnson defied his demands.

The president’s angry reaction, first reported in the Financial Times and confirmed by a person familiar with the matter, is a blow to Johnson as he seeks to pin down a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. following the U.K.‘s split from the European Union on Jan. 31.

Without directly quoting him, the Financial Times described Trump's attitude toward Johnson as "apoplectic." And you know what? I'm going to take their reporting at face value.

Trump does not know a single thing about telecommunications or even the finer points national security for that matter, but Trump takes every disagreement as a personal slight against himself and this wasn't going to be any different.

I think Trump's personal anger in the face of his cabinet more or less saying there's 'nothing to see here' is further evidence that the Trump regime's campaign against Huawei has been driven more by Trump's political ambitions than by empirical policy.

If it were truly an enormous deal and as much of a threat to national security as we've been led to believe, the entire regime would be raising a stink about it; we'd be seeing reports quoting national security officials who are concerned about Britain's decision. But we haven't seen that, we've only seen the likes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Britain's decision won't make any difference.

Suppose we're all wrong and Huawei is a grave threat. If that's true, Trump's bumbling has increased the threat, not reduced it.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Trump had spent months trying to persuade the British government…

    That can’t possible be true. Trump tried to “persuade”? As in “to cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument”?

    • muselet

      “Persuade” is a curious misspelling of “bully,” isn’t it?

      –alopecia

  • muselet

    The national security community is relatively unconcerned—emphasis on “relatively”—about Huawei equipment being installed in 5G networks in the UK.

    Donald Trump is nevertheless “apoplectic” and “berated” Boris Johnson about the UK’s decision, which is almost as telling as Bloomberg’s characterization of Trump being “unhappy that Johnson defied his demands.”

    This is the behavior of a very stable genius toddler, ladies and gentlemen (with apologies to toddlers).

    –alopecia