British Ambassador Kim Darroch resigned Wednesday after internal documents showing his criticism of President Trump were leaked to the media.
In diplomatic cables intended for a private audience, Darroch described President Trump as “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent.” He described conflicts within the White House as “knife fights.”
“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,” wrote Darroch.
President Trump responded to the insult in predictable Trumpian fashion, bashing Darroch as a “stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.” Trump said he would “no longer deal” with Darroch and lashed out at Prime Minister Theresa May for handling Brexit in a “foolish way.”
The British government largely defended Darroch, noting that diplomats are encouraged to be frank when submitting private assessments. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is vying with Boris Johnson to replace May, described Trump’s comments as “disrespectful” and said he would not fire Darroch.
Since Darroch’s resignation comes while May is still in office, she will have the chance to nominate a replacement before she steps down at the end of the month.
Author’s Note: It’s true that ambassadors are supposed to give honest assessments of the people they are working with, and more often than not these assessments are not flattering. But the point here is that top secret documents were leaked and that they were insulting to the leader of a country.
This is tantamount to a public declaration of insult from one country to another, and Britain should have responded by apologizing to President Trump and pulling Darroch out. Instead, they defended the ambassador and criticized Trump.
To Trump’s credit, he refrained from declaring Darroch persona non grata and waited for him to resign.