Donald Trump’s immediate suggestion that the terrorist who left a bomb on the London Underground on Friday was in Scotland Yard’s sights was unhelpful and “pure speculation”, according to Britain’s home secretary.
“It is never helpful to have speculation about an ongoing operation and I would include the president of the United States in that comment,” said Amber Rudd, who said the tweet was not based on intelligence.
“It is pure speculation,” she told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
Asked if her message to the US president was “Donald, just put your phone down and stop tweeting”, the home secretary said: “I don’t think I’d be the first person to say that, would I? We don’t want any speculation on an ongoing operation.”
Her comments came after Trump caused anger in London with his tweet, sent soon after the incident.
Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
He also used the attack to promote his controversial policy to ban people coming to the US from six Muslim-majority countries.
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Rudd’s intervention followed a rebuke from the prime minister, Theresa May, who said it was never helpful for anyone to speculate on an ongoing investigation.
Rudd went further by naming the US president as she set out the latest developments following the attack. She said there was no evidence as yet to link it to Islamic State.
She suggested that Trump’s intervention was different to the US intelligence leaks to the media after the Manchester bombing, which caused anger within the government.
“Our particular complaint was an outrageous leak of material following the Manchester inquiry. That was shut down, it didn’t happen again,” she said, adding that the relationship with the US security services was very important to the UK.
Rudd said a key focus was to ensure that there was less material available to radicalise young people.
She accepted there had been a cut of 24,000 in police numbers during the previous Conservative government, but said that crime had fallen during that period.
She said she used every meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee, including one she chaired this weekend, to ask police leaders if they had adequate resources. “They say they have,” she said.