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Kim Darroch resigns as United Kingdom ambassador to U.S. after leaked Trump comment

11 July 2019

Kim Darroch, Britain's ambassador to the United States, resigned Wednesday, saying it was "impossible" to continue in his role following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he assailed President Donald Trump as "inept" and his administration as "uniquely dysfunctional".

The resignation comes the day after the favourite to become the next Prime Minister in the Tory leadership race repeatedly refused to back the UK's ambassador in a TV debate with his rival Jeremy Hunt that he Sir Kim Darroch.

The break in relations followed a British newspaper's publication Sunday of leaked documents that revealed the ambassador's dim view of Trump's administration, which Darroch described as dysfunctional, inept and chaotic.

Veteran diplomat Kim Darroch said he could no longer do his job in Washington after Trump branded him a fool and cut off all contact with the representative of one of the US's closest allies.

"It seems the deliberate leaking of Kim Darroch's email was aimed at undermining him, so the new unelected Tory PM can appoint a Trumpian patsy to Washington".

"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", he wrote.

President Trump responded to the leaked documents by saying "we're not big fans of that man and he has not served the United Kingdom well".

In one of the memos leaked Sunday, Darroch described the USA administration as "diplomatically clumsy and inept", and said he doubted it would become "substantially more normal".

Some also accused Boris Johnson, who is likely to be picked as Britain's next prime minister later this month, of failing to stand up for the UK's envoy in Washington because he wanted to curry favor with Trump.

"The fact that Sir Kim has been bullied out of his job, because of Donald Trump's tantrums and Boris Johnson's pathetic lick-spittle response, is something that shames our country", she said. "Like I've said, sometimes a great story is just that; not some kind of global conspiracy".

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, a former ambassador to the United States, said he believed Mr Johnson's comments may have played a part in Sir Kim's decision to go. But it would have been almost impossible for Darroch to effectively do his job after Trump made it clear that he would no longer work with Darroch.

He had been Britain's top diplomat in Washington since 2016, predating Trump's presidency.

"Time (to) put in a non-Remainer who wants a trade deal with America", he tweeted.

But he said the trans-Atlantic relationship was "so deep and so wide that it will withstand any individual squall".

Mr. Johnson has a close relationship with Mr. Trump and the U.S. President has spoken highly of him. The fracas not only highlighted Trump's now well-established hypersensitivity to any kind of criticism - even in what is widely seen in the diplomatic community as boilerplate reports that ambassadors send home - but also underscored Trump's public intervention in British politics and the British right-wing Brexiteers embrace of Trump. One theory says Sir Kim's memos were deliberately leaked in order to allow the new Prime Minister to move a Brexiteer in his place.

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that it was "shameful" the diplomat had "effectively been forced out".

Kim Darroch resigns as United Kingdom ambassador to U.S. after leaked Trump comment