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British ambassador to the US steps down following leak of disparaging memos about Trump
The British ambassador to the U.S. is out of a job after getting on President Donald Trump’s last nerves.
Kim Darroch resigned Wednesday after saying his job had been rendered “impossible” by an embarrassing memo leak that threw a wrench into U.S.-U.K. relations, The Daily Caller reports. The diplomat called Trump “inept” and dysfunctional in the leaked cables, which prompted an angry response from President Trump earlier this week.
“Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador,” Darroch stated. “I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
Diplomat steps down
The memos, leaked to the Daily Mail on Sunday, revealed that Darroch gave a scathing evaluation of Trump to British ministers in 2017. The ambassador called Trump “clumsy and inept” and wrote that Trump was “radiating insecurity.” Darroch also described Trump’s administration as “dysfunctional.”
Despite efforts by the British government to do damage control, the scandal ended up doing irreparable harm to Trump’s opinion of the diplomat. Trump fumed at Darroch for the second day in a row Tuesday, calling him a “very stupid guy” and also bashing Prime Minister Theresa May over her “foolish” handling of Brexit.
Trump tweeted: “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was…handled. I told [Prime Minister May] how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.”
The tweet came a day after Trump banished Darroch in a tweet, saying that the United States would “no longer deal with him.” Darroch was disinvited from a dinner with Trump and the emir of Qatar on Monday night.
“I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well,” Trump tweeted Monday. “We will no longer deal with him.”
Foreign Office chief Simon McDonald said he accepted Darroch’s resignation with “deep personal regret,” and Theresa May said Wednesday it was a “matter of regret.”
An unusual diplomatic episode
The dust-up threw U.S.-U.K. relations into disarray, leaving the British government scrambling to clean up the mess. Downing Street affirmed its “full support” for Darroch and stressed that diplomats are expected to make candid assessments of the countries they work in, but sought to emphasize that his views did not reflect “the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.”
The highly unusual series of events put a strain on the relationship between the historically close allies, which only last month had a friendly meeting amid domestic turmoil in Britain over Brexit. May is leaving office in disgrace over her failure to negotiate a Brexit deal.
Trump stirred controversy by weighing in on Brexit and the race to replace May during his June visit, but he spoke optimistically of a possible trade deal between the two allies when Brexit was complete. With some leaks and a few tweets, the Darroch affair seemed to change all of that practically overnight.
The controversy cast shade onto the prime minister’s race as well, after Brexit architect and Trump ally Boris Johnson declined to condemn Trump.
“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,” Darroch said.
Darroch will remain in Washington until a new ambassador is picked, according to Fox News. But the ambassador’s position may be in the lurch, with May leaving office soon.
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