Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States, has spent his tenure doing what all foreign ambassadors do: he’s reported back to his home country with honest and candid assessments about American developments and personnel. The trouble for Darroch, however, is that his private cables were leaked to the public.
And as we discussed yesterday, that’s proven to be quite problematic given the British ambassador’s conclusions that the current U.S. administration is “inept” and “incompetent,” and Donald Trump “radiates insecurity.”
Over the weekend, the American president briefly took a few rhetorical shots at Darroch, arguing that the ambassador “has not served the UK well.” Trump added, “We’re not big fans of that man.”
To the extent that reality has any meaning, Darroch actually has a reputation as a respected ambassador who’s worked fairly closely with the Trump administration despite difficult circumstances.
Nevertheless, the Republican president decided to publish a more spirited response via Twitter this morning:
“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 [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.
“Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…..Thank you, Mr. President!”
So to recap, Kim Darroch privately told his colleagues in the U.K. that Donald Trump “radiates insecurity.” After learning of the ambassador’s private assessment, the American president went out of his way to prove Darroch right.
As for Trump’s odd insistence that he “told” the British prime minister how to resolve the Brexit crisis, what the Republican actually did was urge Theresa May to sue the EU – advice that still doesn’t make any sense.
For what it’s worth, it’s easy to imagine a real American president handling this story in a vastly more responsible way. In response to the leaked U.K. cables, Trump could’ve shrugged it off, been the bigger man, and focused his energies elsewhere. He didn’t have to lash out like an intemperate child whose feelings were inadvertently hurt.
But this is our life now.
Postscript: The White House said yesterday it will “no longer deal with” Darroch, who will be excluded from official events. The British government, at least for now, is standing by the veteran diplomat, Trump’s temper tantrum notwithstanding.