Trump: We will no longer deal with the British ambassador who criticized me in private diplomatic cables; Update: May won't budge

I’d been wondering why he hadn’t tweeted yet about this new grievance.

Probably it was a simple matter of having to address other, more important grievances first.

I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, who would fault a head of state for not wanting to deal with a foreign diplomat who thinks little of his administration and whose distaste is now publicly known? If anything, the Brits should have quietly replaced Kim Darroch once his cables leaked.

On the other hand, if believing that the Trump administration is “dysfunctional” is disqualifying for an ambassador, the entire international diplomatic corps will need to be recalled. Plus probably 90 percent of the federal work force.

This is what he’s responding to:

Britain’s Ambassador to Washington has described Donald Trump as ‘inept’, ‘insecure’ and ‘incompetent’ in a series of explosive memos to Downing Street…

In one of the most sensitive documents, Sir Kim writes: ‘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.’

He also says that he doesn’t think Trump’s White House will ‘ever look competent’…

[One cable] says media reports of ‘vicious infighting and chaos’ inside the White House – dismissed by Trump as ‘fake news’ – are ‘mostly true’.

And referring to allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia – since largely disproved – the memo says: ‘The worst cannot be ruled out.’

Unpredictable? Diplomatically clumsy? Prone to vicious infighting?


That doesn’t sound like the Trump I know.

Nonetheless, even British commentators were asking this weekend, “How can Kim Darroch represent Britain in Trump’s Washington now?” Said Trump buddy Nigel Farage, with characteristic flair, “From the moment Trump was elected, this man was the wrong person to be the British ambassador – a globalist in outlook, totally opposed to the Trump doctrine.” (Why would a British diplomat need to be onboard with Trump’s ideology rather than Theresa May’s?) May’s government is trying to clean it up, with the trade minister preparing to apologize personally to Ivanka Trump at their upcoming meeting, but Trump wants instant gratification in the form of Darroch being fired or resigning, which I assume is the likely outcome.

Although I don’t know. May will be out of office soon and has nothing to lose by defying Trump on this. His gratuitous swipe at her over Brexit in his tweet today may encourage her to stick with Darroch out of spite and dare Trump to take further diplomatic action. It also puts Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two favorites to succeed May as prime minister, in a bind. If they come out in favor of dumping Darroch, they risk being seen as subservient to Trump. If they don’t, their relationship with the White House is off to a bad start.

I think Darroch will resign, just to spare everyone the aggravation. Whatever the propriety of the sentiments in his cables, the leak is a bona fide embarrassment. And Trump’s not nearly gracious enough to shrug off public ridicule, even though Darroch didn’t intend it to be public.

By the way, both WaPo reporter Josh Dawsey and “Mr. Kellyanne Conway” insist that it’s simply not true that Darroch is “not liked,” as Trump blithely claimed. To the contrary:

Maybe May will fire Darroch — and replace him with Sadiq Khan. Exit question for historians: When was the last time we told Britain’s top diplomat not to bother darkening the White House door? 1812?

Update: Theresa May stands her ground, for an understandable reason.

If she fires Darroch, she’ll incentivize further leaks by insiders looking to torpedo their political enemies by sharing their private correspondence. Darroch is supposed to give the PM his honest assessment. He did. Why punish him for it absent any evidence that he was responsible for the leak?