President Donald Trump “tore into” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call last week after Britain announced it would allow Huawei into its 5G networks, according to a person familiar with the call.
The decision rejected longstanding US concerns about the Chinese tech giant. Trump was furious, according to the person, who said Trump berated Johnson over the move, which he characterized as a national security threat.
The Financial Times first reported on the phone call.
Officially, the US maintains a regretful tone about the decision, but the call reflects Trump’s more voracious private anger.
“The United States is disappointed by the UK’s decision,” a senior administration official said when it was announced, adding the US would work with the UK “on a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components from 5G networks.”
Johnson is expected to visit Washington soon, but no visit has been announced yet. With Brexit finalized, the US and the UK are preparing to start negotiations on a new transatlantic trade deal.
Trump has publicly stated that Johnson reflects a “British Trump,” but the two men remain at odds on a number of issues, including Huawei and the Iran nuclear deal.
Speaking to CNBC on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration is “profoundly disappointed” in the British for granting access to Huawei.
“I remember, I met with Prime Minister Johnson. I told him the moment the UK is out of Brexit we were willing to begin a negotiation a free trade arrangement with the UK. And now the UK is out of Brexit. Our team had begun that process, to work, but we just don’t believe that utilizing the assets, the technology of Huawei, is consistent with the security or privacy interests of the UK, of the United States. And it remains a real issue,” he said.