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U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Resigns After Leaked Cables Fiasco

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.

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.


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FortesFortunaJuvat | July 10, 2019 at 9:16 am

The “responsible course” would have been to not make such foolish statements to begin with. He should have, at least, amended his cables to reflect the successes of President Trump’s efforts. But, then, that would demonstrate that the ambassador didn’t really have any clue of what he was writing about.

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.”

My guess is, he thinks his role is sticking a knife in President Trump’s back, without being called out on it.

casualobserver | July 10, 2019 at 9:41 am

One thing I have to give Trump credit for >> his being president has brought out the gaggle of leakers not only in the U.S. but now also the U.K. People so desperate to destroy him from within and from nearby. Funny thing is he almost always wins these leak battles.

What makes it such a positive is the leaking gives us the most transparency about U.S. government activities and now diplomatic realities that I don’t recall ever having in 40+ years of paying attention. The content of the cables from the ambassador don’t surprise me. I’m sure there were some similar transmissions during the past 2 or 3 presidencies. Perhaps not exactly on the level of “professionalism”, but on other quirks and frustrations in getting their country’s agenda the attention they wanted.

    alaskabob in reply to casualobserver. | July 10, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I wonder what Britain’s ambassadors discussed after Obama gave the Queen an iPod of his speeches. Then we have an Australian ambassador intimately involved in fashioning the Steel dossier situation. The world was so happy in seeing administrations managing a decline of America.

    They were evicted from their comfortable complacency where they could rely on the Republicans to circle the wagons to protect them and now find themselves in a dead panic. Trump took away their water wings revealing that they can’t swim.

Imagine what some of our ambassadors “say” on their official channels. Like Huntsman about Russia for starters.

You would think that the anyone from the shit-show that is the current UK would maybe hedge a little bit on throwing shade at Trump, or anyone. Maybe he’s getting nervous about what Durham will dig up.

So he’s a typical lefty. Does anyone really believe his replacement will be any less a lefty?

England is shuffling the deck chairs around. How nice.

    You take Boris Johnson, their next Prime Minister, to be someone who would appoint a flaming leftist, then? I am curious why you see it that way.

    Barry in reply to irv. | July 10, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    “England is shuffling the deck chairs around.”

    England is the Titanic. They just don’t know they hit the iceberg back about50 years ago.

Trump certainly has a way with kicking swamp creatures out of Washington. Even British swamp creatures get the boot.

Is it strange that no one is freaking out about the fact that confidential communications between an Ambassador and his government have been leaked and then published in the newspapers?

    sheepgirl in reply to clintack. | July 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    It is strange and I wonder who arranged it. It almost seems like someone wanted to rid themselves of his troublesome presence. Perhaps a pro-Brexit subordinate?

British ambassador v2.0 will come with an upgraded filter at no extra charge.

This idiot certainly has some history attached to him. Basically an ardent opponent of BREXIT and apparently not very bright. Hope the door doesn’t hit his arse on the way out.

AlexanderYpsilantis | July 10, 2019 at 12:15 pm

What a moron.

With ‘allies’ like these guys, who needs enemies? For the life of me, I’ve never understood why we call the UK ‘close allies’.

He wasn’t very diplomatic.

The head of the government that appoints an ambassador needs not just a diplomat, but someone able and willing to offer frank opinions about what’s going on in the country he’s being sent to.

Darroch’s judgment in how he assessed the Trump Administration is questionable, as is the judgment of the British PM who appointed him to that post and left him there this long. That the cables themselves would be leaked, though, wasn’t foreseeable.

In any event, an ambassador about whom the host government says, “We will no longer deal with him,” can no longer be effective in representing his home government, and should have been recalled immediately.

It may be have been a resignation, but it surely wasn’t an apology. “I’m so sorry, if you took offense.”

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.

Brave Sir Robbin | July 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

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.

clayusmcret | July 11, 2019 at 7:43 am

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.