- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2019

Britain’s ambassador to the United States is now a persona non grata — at least at the White House.

President Trump made clear Monday he will no longer work with the British ambassador to the U.S., one day after the leak of an explosive series of confidential cables that painted the Trump White House as dysfunctional, clumsy and “inept.”

In London, Prime Minister Theresa May said she rejected the views of Ambassador Kim Darroch, whose scathingly critical memos were published by the Daily Mail on Sunday, but the damage appeared to be done.

“I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him,” Mr. Trump tweeted, the series of tweets also blasted Mrs. May, who is stepping down after failing to cut a deal to lead the U.K. out of the European Union. Picking at an old wound, Mr. Trump said he had advised Mrs. May on how to manage Brexit, but that she had ignored his counsel.

“The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister,” Mr. Trump tweeted Monday.

Mr. Darroch offered a brutal assessment of Mr. Trump in the leaked memos dating back to 2017. In one, he questioned whether the White House “will ever look competent.”

“We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” he wrote.

More recently, Mr. Darroch questioned Mr. Trump’s policy on Iran and his publicly stated reason for calling off a retaliatory strike after the downing of a U.S. drone by Tehran. He also mused over Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, saying “the worst cannot be ruled out.”

British officials opened an inquiry into the leak, though Mr. Trump fixated on their content, casting a shadow over the “special relationship” between the transatlantic allies.

Mr. Trump late Sunday said Mr. Darroch has “not served the U.K. well,” and he effectively excommunicated him via tweet the following day.

Mrs. May said she maintained “full faith” in her ambassador, while others said he was simply giving his unvarnished opinion as an envoy is supposed to do.

“He told the truth about Donald Trump and that was because it was his job,” said the Labor Party’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, according to the BBC.

But others said Mr. Darroch’s usefulness as a diplomat in Washington was over.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted that Mr. Darroch “is totally unsuitable for the job and the sooner he is gone the better.”

Mr. Trump has long been close with Mr. Farage and with Boris Johnson, Mrs. May’s former foreign secretary, an ardent Brexiteer and the favorite to succeed Mrs. May as Conservative Party leader — and thus prime minister — in a party poll this month. But Mr. Trump’s relationship with Mrs. May has run hot and cold.

They played nice during the First Family’s state visit to London in June, yet they’ve sparred repeatedly over Ms. May’s handling of Brexit. Mr. Trump at one point said she ought to sue the EU instead of negotiating the terms of the U.K.’s exit, as demanded by a 2016 referendum. Mrs. May ignored his advice.

While the British government geared up an internal probe into who leaked the damning dispatches, popular opinion was divided over whether Mr. Darroch was a victim or naive to believe his private cables would remain private. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there would be “very serious consequences” if the culprit was caught.

But Robin Renwick, Britain’s ambassador to Washington in the 1990s, told the BBC that even though Mr. Darroch had done nothing wrong, his position in Washington was now “untenable.”

“There will of course be a decent interval,” Mr. Renwick predicted. “He will then have to be moved on.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide