July 11, 2019
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) “blamed the messenger” on July 10 —the news media—for forcing British Ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch to step down following the leak of his secret cables.
The ambassador’s sudden comeuppance—which was covered by U.S. and global media outlets—followed the disclosure of his opinions about the Trump administration, made in a report to the British government.
In that report, which was leaked to the UK’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, the British ambassador called Trump “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent”—and noted that the White House is currently “uniquely dysfunctional.”
The ambassador also noted that he did not have much hope for the rest of the U.S. president’s term in office. “We don’t really believe the administration is going to become substantially more normal, less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”
After the comments became public, Trump immediately clapped back—escalating the situation in a July 8 tweet: “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him.”
Early on July 9, the president tweeted again, “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy….I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.”
As the situation continued to deteriorate, the ambassador made his decision.
In his letter of resignation, issued on Wednesday morning, Darroch said, “Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy, there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador. I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
Therefore, he remarked, “Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”
Although Graham pointed a finger at the press to protect the president after the resignation became public, it is clear that the “current circumstances” were caused by Darroch and Trump—and not the members of the press who reported on it.
The ambassador will stay on until a replacement is identified.
Research contact: @thehill