Kim Darroch, the U.K.’s ambassador to the United States, resigned early Wednesday after it became clear he could not continue to be effective in his role after describing President Donald Trump as “insecure” and his administration as “clumsy and inept” in cables that were leaked to a British tabloid.
Somehow, the ambassador insulting President Trump was not considered offensive to American journalists, but Trump responding that he would not work with the ambassador anymore as a result of the messages was.
“Darroch had sought to keep a busy schedule, meeting with lawmakers and aides in recent days, but had been disinvited from a White House event,” wrote William Booth and Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post in “British ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch resigns after Trump criticism.”
“His aides feared Trump might tr to formally remove him – taking the extraordinary step of declaring him ‘persona non grata,’ reserved for a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited.”
No names are attached to these views, and there is no indication the Trump administration gave any thought to expelling Darroch.
The New York Times took the long view in “Kim Darroch, U.K. Ambassador, Resigns after Leak of Trump Memos,” by Stephen Castle.
“The controversy surrounding Mr. Darroch’s assessments has struck some members of the diplomatic corps in Washington as a broader peril: As one of his fellow European ambassadors put it, there was little in his cables that could not be found in their own,” Castle wrote.
“Mr. Darroch’s candid descriptions of the administration as inept and chaotic, of reversed decisions and a mystifying policymaking process, closely mirror daily news reports and the findings of the slew of books about Mr. Trump’s tenure.”
The Times suggested Darroch’s influence had “waned under Mr. Trump.
“In past administrations, American secretaries of state were often at the British embassy,” Castle wrote. “But neither Rex W. Tillerson nor Mike Pompeo dealt as much with Mr. Darroch, and the National Security Council was not as welcoming a place, even to one of Washington’s most crucial ambassadors, as it had been in previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.”
Castle does not point out there may be other reasons for this, such as the fact the Trump administration suspects British intelligence assets were used in the Spygate plot to undermine or bring an end to the administration in its earliest days.
Slate was less diplomatic in its assessment of events in “U.K. Ambassador Resigns After Calling Trump White House ‘Inept’ in Leaked Cable” by Elliot Hannon.
“Darroch’s truth-telling stung Trump, who took it personally and fired back,” Hannon wrote. The president called Darroch a “wacky ambassador,” “a pompous fool” and a “very stupid guy,” before “promising, more crucially, ‘we will no longer deal with him.’”
Hannon explained: “Peering through the usual Trump rhetorical fireworks, it was that last threat of a diplomatic cold shoulder that was particularly worrying for the U.K., for obvious historical, political, and economic reasons that have taken a heightened sense of strategic importance given the U.K.’s imminent separation from its other close allies in the European Union.”
When Trump disinvited Darroch to a dinner at the White House on Monday night, that meant that “despite being faultless in the brouhaha, the diplomat likely had to go, one way or the other.”
Prime Minister Theresa May, who could leave office as early as this week, praised Darroch, Hannon wrote. “But it was the U.K.’s likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson, who hung Darroch out to dry during a party-leadership debate ahead of the Conservative Party vote later this month. Johnson’s lack of support reportedly prompted the ambassador to tender his resignation, while heaping diplomatic pressure on Johnson for appearing to cow to the Trump administration.”
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Author: Brian McNicoll