Liz Truss, the shortest-serving prime minister in British history, who was memorably shown to have a shorter shelf life than a lettuce, has in effect backed Donald Trump in next year’s US presidential election.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Truss – who spent just 49 days in No 10 Downing Street before being turfed out by her own Conservative party in large part for pitching the UK economy into crisis – said she wished for a Republican president next.
Trump currently enjoys huge leads in polling to become the Republican candidate in next year’s election, notwithstanding the fact that he faces 91 criminal charges, including some for attempting to overturn his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden.
Related: ‘She’s totally lost it’: inside story of the unravelling of Liz Truss’s premiership
In the article, title “The World Again Needs American Leadership”, Truss cited Ronald Reagan and the end of the cold war.
“The world would benefit from more of that kind of American leadership today,” Truss wrote. “I hope that a Republican will be returned to the White House in 2024. There must be conservative leadership in the US that is once again bold enough to call out hostile regimes as evil and a threat.”
Truss did not name Trump in her column but she has previously praised him, calling him “very good” and “very nice”. Trump, in turn, has said he thinks “very highly” of Truss.
Truss’s piece was published as she visited Washington with Conservative Friends of Ukraine. Saying the west was “complacent about the defeat of our communist enemies”, Truss – also a former UK foreign minister – described threats from China, Iran and Russia.
Although she did not mention Biden and appeared to implicitly criticise him, she argued for the need to “ensure a total Ukrainian victory and defeat of the Russian invaders”, a goal pursued by Biden – and indeed opposed by many hard-right Republicans.
Truss also bemoaned the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was conducted under Biden but negotiated under Trump.
Earlier this year, Truss visited Washington to be fêted by the Heritage Foundation, a hard-right group helping plan a second Trump term. If elected, Trump has talked about attempting to consolidate conservatives’ hold on key institutions and to target his political enemies.
Truss was unceremoniously ejected from office after the announcement of a mini-budget that matched huge spending promises with tax cuts, and was blamed for economic chaos, sending mortgage costs soaring while causing the pound to slump dramatically.
The Daily Star newspaper ran a livestream showing a lettuce and asking whether it would decompose before she lost her tenure.
After Truss’s comments supporting a Republican win in 2024, Tom Walker, a comedian who performs as the reporter Jonathan Pie, wrote online: “Liz Truss has apparently endorsed Trump. Well, that’s practically him back in for certain now.
“Now if he can just get the lettuce onside as well … ”