U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Resigns After Leaked Cables Fiasco
“Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”
United Kingdom Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch resigned on Monday after a war of words with President Donald Trump over remarks in leaked cables.
These cables showed Darroch describing Trump’s administration as “diplomatically clumsy and inept” while he believed it would not become “substantially more normal.”
Trump returned fire by saying his administration “will no longer deal” with the ambassador.
The Daily Mail published snippets of the cables on Sunday:
- Describes bitter conflicts within Trump’s White House – verified by his own sources – as ‘knife fights’;
- Warns that Trump could have been indebted to ‘dodgy Russians’;
Claims the President’s economic policies could wreck the world trade system;
- Says the scandal-hit Presidency could ‘crash and burn’ and that ‘we could be at the beginning of a downward spiral… that leads to disgrace and downfall’;
- Voices fears that Trump could still attack Iran.
In one of the most sensitive documents, Sir Kim writes: ‘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 also says that he doesn’t think Trump’s White House will ‘ever look competent’.
In reference to Trump’s ability to shrug off controversies in a life which has been ‘mired in scandal’, he says that the President may nonetheless ’emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like [Arnold] Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator’.
The cables infuriated Trump, who used Twitter to express his frustrations. He not only criticized Darroch but also Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit.
….thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him. The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2019
Downing Street tried to smooth out the tension by reminding everyone of the special relationship between the UK and the US. The prime minister’s office noted that they “have made clear to the US how unfortunate this leak is” and “[T]he selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem” they have for our relationship.
May insisted Darroch has her support, but that was not enough since he resigned this morning. From Fox News:
In a resignation letter on Wednesday, Darroch said “the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
“Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador,” he wrote, noting the situation “has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries.”
Darroch said he is “grateful to all those in the U.K. and the U.S., who have offered their support during this difficult few days.”
It is not unusual for ambassadors to use such frank language when sending cables to their home countries “so political trends and possible threats” so leaders in said countries can gauge their interests.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
You call THAT trying to smooth over relations!? The ambassador just saved the “special relationship” by leaving. Theresa May had the honorable option of saying nothing, and rejected that. It’s one thing that the ambassador wrote this down, another that it was leaked in public… and May playing up the “candid advice” (to the UK) aspect was tin eared enough… but Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (using this as a cudgel against rival Boris Johnson in the race for May’s job) to publicly champion the ambassador, lecture Trump that America does not get to choose the UK’s ambassador, and to pledge to retain the ambassador until his scheduled departure at Christmas and to publicly, in a live, televised debate, brow-beat Boris Johnson in an attempt to make Boris agree to the same terms…
Right. You call this attempting to smooth it over? I’ve been watching in bemused horror, but this was a public effort to rub the ambassador’s caustic comments in Trump’s face, and then, on top of that, insist that Trump smile and work with the man in spite of that public humiliation. I would not expect any President to accept such a thing. That is setting the special relationship on fire, and then tossing it into a warehouse filled with dynamite and generally hoping for the best.
Two last things: ambassadors are also expected to actually deal with their host countries and represent their countries of origin, which was obviously a problem in this case; and, being candid doesn’t mean you have to go on rants as if you are a CNN anchor pleasing the Twitter masses.
Frank comments by an ambassador are expected, but so is strict confidentiality and non-biased accuracy. The first was breached by the UK government – not the ambassador’s fault. The second criteria was breached by the ambassador and demonstrated a connection with partisan opponents to the Trump administration and no real insight in the workings of the administration.
Trump’s twitter rant simply put all this into perspective – see the consequences for not keeping frank comments confidential? Oh, and who is incompetent, Me, or Teressa May and this diplomat?
Jeremy Hunt’s comments are imbecilic and wrong. Any country has an option of accepting an ambassador’s credentials or not, and may reject them at any time, which Trump more or less did informally by refusing to work with the British ambassador further. At that point the man more or less becomes a tourist unless the country also expels him. A nation more or less, therefore nominates its ambassadors, subject to the pleasure of the host nation. I would deny Hunt’s entry in the US just to make a firm point and put him in his place. No country dictates who will be their ambassador to another country.
Darroch lived within the DC liberal news bubble. What else would he have heard in their 24/7 news cycles of anti-trump garbage to base his opinions?
Trump should have simply sent him back to the UK. Governments can send diplomatic personnel packing back to their home countries.
Leave a Comment