LONDON (AP) — Britain’s ambassador to the United States (US) resigned yesterday after being made a diplomatic nobody by President Donald Trump following the leak of the envoy’s unflattering opinions about the US administration.
Kim Darroch said he could no longer do his job after Trump branded him a fool and cut off all contact with the representative of one of Washington’s closest allies.
The criticism came after leaked documents revealed the envoy’s dim view of Trump’s administration, which he described as dysfunctional, inept and chaotic.
“The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like,” Darroch said in his resignation letter.
In the leaked documents, he called the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran “incoherent”, said the President might be indebted to “dodgy Russians” and raised doubts about 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,” one missive said.
British politicians from Prime Minister Theresa May down praised Darroch and condemned the leak, as some accused Boris Johnson, Britain’s likely next leader, of failing to stand up for the UK’s envoy in Washington because he wanted to curry favour with Trump.
Darroch had been set to retire at the end of the year.
It’s unclear whether May will have time to replace Darroch before she leaves office later this month. Appointing ambassadors usually involves a formal civil service process with advertisements, applications and interviews, though Simon McDonald, head of Britain’s diplomatic service, said the post of ambassador to the US wasn’t always chosen that way.
“History shows that there are often bespoke procedures for filling the embassy in Washington, DC,” he said.
Though the matter had been brewing for days, Darroch announced his decision the morning after a debate between the two contenders to replace May as party leader and prime minister, Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
Hunt, who is Britain’s Foreign Secretary, had vowed to keep Darroch in the post, but Johnson pointedly did not.
“I think it’s very important we should have a close partnership, a close friendship with the United States,” Johnson said.
Darroch’s forthright, unfiltered views on the US administration — meant for a limited audience and discreet review — appeared in leaked diplomatic documents that were published in Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper.