Tory former prime minister David Cameron has said US president Donald Trump “drives him mad” a lot of the time.
Mr Cameron also appeared to indicate he would have attended more top level Downing Street meetings in the run-up to the coronavirus outbreak than Prime Minister Boris Johnson did.
Promoting the release of the paperback version of his memoirs, For The Record, Mr Cameron delivered a withering assessment of Mr Trump.
He told Times Radio: “If you want to see action on climate change.
“If you want to see action to continue to deal with the scourge of global poverty.
“If you want to see a promotion of trade and anti-protectionism, it’s hard to argue that Donald Trump is good for those things.
“But, I’m not going to get involved in the US election.
“But, I profoundly believe that we need that international collaboration to cope with these big problems.
“And, an America that withdraws from those things makes it far more difficult to achieve any of them.
“To be fair to Trump, on some of these agendas there’s a little kernel of truth in what he is saying.
“Nato, for instance, it is true that Europe has free-rided on American expenditure for too long and Trump was right to highlight that.
“So, I know Trump drives everyone mad – he certainly drives me mad a lot of the time – you have got to deal with the causes of Trump, rather than just the consequences.”
On the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Cameron suggested he would have been more pro-active in the run-up to the crisis after Mr Johnson was criticised for not attending a number of top level Cobra meetings on the gathering outbreak during the early part of the year.
Asked if Mr Johnson should have attended more Cobra meetings early on as the coronavirus was spreading, Mr Cameron said: “I don’t know exactly what the circumstances were, so I’m not passing judgment.
“I’m just saying, I didn’t always attend the first one.
“But if you wanted to get stuff done, it normally needed – there’s something about the Prime Minister turning up that helps to drive decision making.”
He said: “I didn’t always attend the first Cobra meeting of every emergency, but I always thought you had to get to focus on it quite quickly.
“It’s not because prime ministers are super human and only they can take decisions, I mean lots of people can take decisions, but there’s a sort of bias in government against doing something.
“I think you’ve got to get in there quite quickly and try and drive progress.”
Mr Johnson did not chair his first Cobra meeting on Covid-19 until March 3, having left five earlier meetings to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
This prompted opposition accusations that he had been “missing in action”.
Asked if he had been in touch with Mr Johnson about the Brexit situation, Mr Cameron said: “We talk from time to time and text each other from time to time.”
Mr Cameron, who as prime minister presided over an austerity agenda, said he helped in a food bank during the lockdown.
He said: “I worked for the Chipping Norton Food Bank actually one or two days a week, which was great to do something to help people who were really isolated and stuck at home.”
The ex-PM also appeared to suggest Jeremy Hunt should return to the Cabinet.
He said: “Jeremy is hugely capable.
“He was a brilliant health secretary when I was prime minister.
“I think he talks a lot of sense as chairman of the health select committee now and I hope his talent isn’t lost to politics forever if I can put it that way.”
Referring to dealing with ministers with experience in Cabinet, Mr Cameron said: “My approach was – I didn’t fear the tall poppies.”
Mr Cameron announced his resignation as prime minister after losing the Brexit referendum in June 2016, a few months before Mr Trump’s surprise US presidential win in November of that year.
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