White House refuses to deny Trump accused Boris Johnson of 'betrayal' in angry phone call over Huawei decision

'We have to be very careful. National security. Huawei,' US president said on Sunday

John T. Bennett
New York
Monday 24 February 2020 11:28 EST
Donald Trump addresses huge rally in India

The White House is not denying Donald Trump accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of "betrayal" after slamming the phone down during a confrontational call last month.

The American president used that word to describe Mr Johnson's decision to partner with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications firm the Trump administration has accused of pushing invasive technology, to build the UK's 5G network, during a conversation with a senior White House official, according to the Daily Mail.

Citing a source, the newspaper reported Mr Trump's anger during the 24 January transatlantic call as "appopletic."

Asked if the description of the Trump-Johnson call was accurate, a White House official on Monday did not dispute that the US president grew angry on the call and slammed down the phone.

Nor did the official deny that Mr Trump later used the word "betrayal" to describe Mr Johnson's Huawei decision.

UK officials have said they decided to use the Chinese firm because there was no alternative.

The official directed a reporter to a 24 January summary of the call released by the White House, saying Mr Trump's team have nothing to add to its vague two lines.

"Today, President Donald J Trump spoke with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom. The two leaders discussed important regional and bilateral issues, including working together to ensure the security of our telecommunications networks," that summary stated.

Mr Trump was asked about the UK's decision on Sunday as he left the White House for his state visit to India, sounding somewhat measured as he did not escalate the tensions

"We have to be very careful. National security. Huawei," he said over the loud hum of Marine One's engines on the South Law. "National security. We have to be very careful."

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