In Brief

Donald Trump ‘bullied and humiliated' Theresa May in ‘near-sadistic’ phone calls

President revealed to be ‘deferential’ to dictators while hectoring female world leaders

Donald Trump regularly “bullied and humiliated” Theresa May calling her “spineless” on Brexit, according to one of the journalists behind the Watergate scandal.

Carl Bernstein investigated the calls of the president with world leaders for four months, finding that “Trump was consistently underprepared, repeatedly outplayed by US enemies and abusive to allies”, the Daily Mirror says.

The reporting revealed that Trump was “deferential to the Russian and Turkish presidents”, while “abusing the leaders of America’s allies, taking a particular dislike to women”, The Times adds.

“He’d get agitated about something with Theresa May, then he’d get nasty with her on the phone call,” a source told Bernstein

The president’s conversations with May were described as “humiliating and bullying”, while another source said: “He clearly intimidated her and meant to.” Bernstein reports that the US president also labelled May “a fool” for her pro-Remain stance on the European Union and support for Nato.

The Telegraph notes that Bernstein’s reporting found that Trump also “denigrated” German Chancellor Angela Merkel - whom he called “stupid” - while remaining “cordial - even reverential” with Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

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The president’s grip on geopolitics in phone calls led senior officials to conclude that “the president himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States”, Bernstein writes for CNN.

The calls led senior Trump aides to believe he is “delusional” in his dealings with other leaders, two sources told Bernstein, who adds that Trump believed he could “charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than... the national interest”.

Trump is currently under pressure to respond to reports that Russia paid members of the Taliban to target US troops in Afghanistan. The president initially described the reports as “fake news”.

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