The Trump administration is “dysfunctional,” “unpredictable,” and not “normal.” Trump “radiates insecurity,” uses “false claims and invented statistics,” and will never “look competent.” And when his presidency ends, it may very well come crashing down in “disgrace.”
These are the words of Kim Darroch, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the U.S., whose frank assessment of the president was revealed in a leak of diplomatic cables published this weekend by The Mail on Sunday.
The leaked cables, which span communications sent by Darroch from 2017 to the present, provide a picture of Trump and his administration that’s familiar to anyone who pays close attention to U.S. politics. But in London, the Mail suggests that Darroch’s comment could be a “bombshell” that “risks angering the notoriously thin-skinned US President.”
That may be true, but angering Trump is hardly risky. The man is always angry, and initially at least, the leaked cables didn’t seem to rile him up much.
“The ambassador has not served the U.K. well, I can tell you that,” said Trump, who has previously tweeted that Brexit architect Nigel Farage should be the U.K. ambassador to the U.S. “We are not big fans of that man, and he has not served the U.K. well. So I can understand it and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”
The British Foreign Office appeared to have no problem with what Darroch said in the cables. In a statement, it defended his candor:
“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.
“But we pay them to be candid. Just as the U.S. ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.”
Prime Minister Theresa May did take issue with the leak though. “Contact has been made with the Trump administration, setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable. It is, of course, a matter of regret that this has happened,” she said.
But May, of course, is not long for her position, and one of her potential successors has made a point to publicly distance himself from Darroch. “I have made it clear that I don’t share the ambassador’s assessment of either the U.S. administration or relations with the U.S. administration,” said Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt. He added, “But I do defend his right to make that frank assessment.”