“You are the best of us”: UK Ambassador to the US resigns amid Anglo-American tiff
Britain’s Ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch has resigned amid a tiff between Downing Street and the White House over leaked diplomatic cables that described the Trump Administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”.
Sir Darroch, a veteran diplomat with a career spanning four decades, wrote in his resignation letter that the “current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like”.
He said that while his posting does not end until the end of the year, he believes “in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador”.
“I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days,” Sir Darroch wrote.
“This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.
“I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands.”
The head of the Britain’s Diplomatic Service, Sir Simon McDonald, accepted Sir Darroch’s resignation with “deep personal regret”.
“Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class,” he wrote.
“I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.
“I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades. In a series of demanding roles — including National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the European Union — you have loyally served the government of the day without fear or favour. We have been lucky to have you as a friend and colleague. You are the best of us.”
Sir Darroch became a public target of US President Donald Trump following the diplomatic cables leak.
In one memo, the Ambassador said the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Mr Trump.
He wrote: “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.”
Sir Kim also questioned whether a Trump White House “will ever look competent”.
President Trump promptly criticised the diplomat in what started as brief remarks about how “we’re not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well. So I can understand it and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”
However, it did not take long for Mr Trump to be bothered to “say things” about Sir Darroch and also take shots at British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The US President initially tweeted:
The disgruntled President later tweeted:
The latter series of tweets crossed the line for many in London, including prime ministerial hopeful and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt responded to Mr Trump by tweeting:
While the US President may be somewhat placated by Sir Darroch’s resignation, relations between Downing Street and the Trump Administration may well remain tense as the recent stoush is just one of many issues that have caused disagreement.
Traditionally, Britain and the US have seen eye-to-eye on most issues, but under President Trump’s unilateralist administration, differences on climate change, defence, foreign policy and trade have strained the relationship.
Mr Trump is yet to comment on Sir Darroch’s resignation.
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