8th July, 2019
The British government is defending its ambassador to the United States following reports that he described President Trump as “inept” and “incompetent” in memos sent to the British Foreign Commonwealth Office.
“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country,” a spokesperson for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.
According to reports, “Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid. Just as the U.S. Ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.”
“Of course we would expect such advice to be handled by ministers and civil servants in the right way and it’s important that our ambassadors can offer their advice and for it remain confidential,” the spokesperson continued, adding that Britain’s “team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behavior.”
The spokesperson did not address some of the statements Ambassador Kim Darroch reportedly made.
The Daily Mail first reported Saturday that Darroch made disparaging remarks about Trump in a series of secret diplomatic cables between 2017 and now. CNN later confirmed the report.
The cables reportedly covered matters from Trump’s foreign policy approach to his plans for reelection in 2020.
Among other things, Darroch described conflicts within the Trump administration as “knife fights.” He stated in a memo that he didn’t think the administration would “ever look competent.”
Darroch, who has served in his post since January 2016, also reportedly warned the U.K. government that Trump’s White House tenure could “could end in disgrace.”
“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,” Darroch wrote in one memo to British senior politicians, the Daily Mail reported.
In response to the report, on Monday, Trump said Kim Darroch had “not served the UK well”. “We are not big fans of that man … I can say things about him, but I won’t bother,” he added.