Following days of controversy, and despite pledges of support from the UK government, Kim Darroch has resigned as British Ambassador to the United States.
Darroch becomes the latest casualty of an international dust-up with Donald Trump, and the kerfuffle comes at a decidedly inopportune time, as the UK continues to stumble towards some kind of Brexit while simultaneously choosing a new Prime Minister.
To be clear, Darroch’s description of the Trump Administration as “incompetent” and “insecure”, is entirely accurate and, ironically, Trump’s childlike response just underscores the veracity of that assessment.
Trump pitched an absolute fit this week on Twitter after the offending diplomatic cables were published. Ultimately, Trump claimed he would “no longer deal” with Darroch and took it up several notches on Tuesday, calling him – and I kid you not – “a very stupid, wacky pompous fool”. He also lampooned Theresa May’s handling of Brexit.
Jeremy Hunt, Darroch’s boss, initially called the Trump administration “highly effective”, but the US president’s Tuesday tweets were a bridge too far. “Friends speak frankly so I will: these comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country. Your diplomats give their private opinions to Secretary [Mike] Pompeo and so do ours!”, he tweeted.
Boris Johnson, on the other hand, said simply this: “I’ve a good relationship with the White House and no embarrassment in saying that”.
On Tuesday, during a debate, Johnson said Trump had been “dragged into a British political debate”, and after acknowledging that it wasn’t “necessarily the right thing” for the president to tweet insane things, he refused to commit to keeping Darroch on. “Whoever leaked that deserves to be eviscerated”, Johnson said. “I, and I alone will decide who takes politically sensitive jobs such as ambassador to the US”.
And so, on Wednesday, Darroch threw in the towel. “[The] current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like”, he said, in a letter.
Theresa May summed things up as follows:
(If the video does not load, please refresh your page)
Writing last month of Trump’s reelection kickoff in Orlando, Darroch said “As is standard at these rallies, the language was incendiary, and a mix of fact and fiction”.
Weeks later, he would become a victim of that same language.