Thousands of protesters greeted President Donald Trump’s U.K. visit with anger and British irony Tuesday, crowding London’s government district while the president met Prime Minister Theresa May nearby. (June 4)
Leaked diplomatic cables published Sunday revealed unflattering comments from the British ambassador to the United States about the Trump administration, which he called “diplomatically clumsy and inept.”
Ambassador Kim Darroch’s critical assessment was part of several documents from 2017 to the present, which The Mail said it was given in an “unprecedented leak” that it dubbed “The Washington Files.”
Some of the most inflammatory statements from Darroch came from a June 22, 2017, briefing note on the president and his team, which was prepared for top British officials, The Mail reported.
“For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity,” Darroch wrote in that memo.
“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,” Darroch wrote.
A statement from the British Foreign Office did not dispute the documents’ authenticity and said it did not believe the “mischievious behavior” would hurt diplomatic ties with the administration.
“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government,” the statement said, according to The New York Times.
A spokesman for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office later said that “a formal leak investigation” would be conducted, according to the Times and NBC News.
When asked about the leaked remarks, Trump told reporters that Darroch “has not served the U.K. well.”
In his 2017 briefing note, written a month after Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, Darroch said he feared the “worst cannot be ruled out” about potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
“There could have been active collusion between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, especially over the timing of release of hacked emails from inside the Clinton camp,” he said. “Dodgy Russian financiers may have bailed out the Trump and Kushner enterprises when both were at risk of bankruptcy in previous decades.”
And, Darroch said, “Trump’s attempts to close down the FBI investigation” into former national security adviser Michael Flynn “might amount to obstruction of justice.”
But despite the scandals swirling around the White House, Darroch said Trump could still win a second term and “emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator.”
More recently, in a June 22 cable from this year, Darroch called the administration’s policy toward Iran “incoherent” and “chaotic” and said that he did not expect it to become “coherent any time soon,” The Mail reported.
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Darroch said he did not believe Trump’s explanation that he aborted a planned military strike against Iran in retaliation for a downed unmanned drone because he was concerned about Iranian casualties.
“His claim, however, that he changed his mind because of 150 predicted casualties doesn’t stand up; he would certainly have heard this figure in his initial briefing,” Darroch wrote.
“It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,” Darroch said, apparently referring to Trump’s pledge to avoid foreign entanglements.
On June 17, Darroch shared his views on Trump’s recent diplomatic visit to the U.K.
“With this unorthodox President, there were genuine risks,” he said. But he wrote that “the gamble” paid off.
According to The Mail, Darroch said that while Trump was “used to being feted by foreign governments,” his visit with British royalty offered “an honour that no other country can match. He said Trump “revelled in every element of it” and “knew from the outset that it amounted to genuinely special treatment.”
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Darroch also noted that it was critical that those around the president, whom he called the “Trump Whisperers,” had a good time.
“His team were also dazzled, telling us that this had been a visit like no other – the hottest ticket of their careers,” he said, according to The Mail. “These are close contacts, with whom we have spent years building relationships: they are the gatekeepers … the individuals we rely upon to ensure the UK voice is heard in the West Wing.”
But he cautioned that the visit’s impact could be short-lived because, “This is still the land of America First.”
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said Sunday that the documents made it clear that Darroch was a “globalist” and “completely anti-Trump.”
“Some of these comments he’s made go way beyond fair reporting,” Farage said. “We’re into the world here of opinion, clearly strongly biased opinion. And the sooner he’s gone as the U.K.’s ambassador in Washington the better.”
Farage added that his assessment had nothing to do with Trump’s 2016 tweet saying he thought Farage should be the ambassador to the U.S.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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