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Trump Says He Won't Work With British Diplomat Who Called Him 'Inept'

Jul 7, 2019
Originally published on July 8, 2019 7:23 pm

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET Monday

President Trump says he "will no longer deal with" the U.K.'s ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch, who sent a series of confidential memos to the British Foreign Office assailing President Trump's character and leadership.

The Daily Mail, which first leaked and excerpted the diplomatic cables, reports that Darroch describes Trump as an insecure and incompetent leader of an administration marred by "vicious infighting" and "false claims."

"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," the ambassador wrote in leaked documents, according to the Daily Mail.

In a pair of tweets, Trump began by knocking Darroch's boss, Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump said May and her advisers have made a mess out of Brexit, and it's good news that the U.K. will soon have a new prime minister.

Trump said the ambassador "is not liked or well thought of" and the U.S. won't work with him. Trump did call Britain "wonderful" and said he was "most impressed" with Queen Elizabeth.

A White House official confirms that Darroch's invitation to a dinner Monday for the emir of Qatar was rescinded.

Darroch's dispatches — which date from 2017 to the present, according to the Daily Mail — tell British officials that Trump's presidency could collapse in "disgrace and downfall," but Darroch warns: "Do not write him off."

A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson did not deny the authenticity of the memos but said they don't necessarily reflect the stance of any part of Britain's government.

"The British public would expect our Ambassadors to provide Ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country," reads the FCO official's statement. "Their views are not necessarily the views of Ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid. Just as the US 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 [to] remain confidential. Our team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behaviour."

In June, Trump visited U.K. officials, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. A crowd of protesters rallied outside Buckingham Palace when he got there.

The leaked messages are especially ill-timed for the U.K. as it seeks to lock down a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., in the event the U.K. leaves the European Union. The deadline for Brexit is currently Oct. 31.

The Daily Mail also reports that Darroch raises concerns that Trump's "America First" agenda could "denounce the [World Trade Organization], tear up existing trade details, launch protectionist action, even against allies. It could further undermine international action on climate change, or further cut UN funding."

Among the leaked memos was a list offering advice for other top British officials in their dealings with Trump. According to the Daily Mail, the ambassador advised, "You need to start praising him for something that he's done recently."

Darroch took his post as Britain's ambassador to the U.S. in January 2016. He previously served as national security adviser under then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party in the U.K., tweeted on Sunday, "Kim Darroch is totally unsuitable for the job and the sooner he is gone the better."

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