British Government Defends Their Ambassador for Calling Trump “Incompetent”

Published on July 7, 2019 by Athena Pallas

The British government is defending its ambassador to the United States for calling President Trump “inept” and “incompetent”, among other things, according to The Hill, in official memos submitted to the British Foreign Commonwealth Office. In their defense of British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch, the British government indicated that officials like him must feel free to be candid in their reports and, importantly, did not contest the content of those memos that has been revealed publicly in news reports. These memos were meant to be private, however, and it is not clear how their content came to be made public; in their comments on the matter the British Foreign Commonwealth Office stressed the important of the confidentiality of the reports, which is perhaps a polite way of expressing their displeasure that the memos were leaked.

Ambassador Darroch, who has held that post since January of 2016, was quite frank in diplomatic cables he sent home starting in 2017 and continuing to the present. Darroch not only called Trump “inept”, but said he did not believe the Trump administration would “ever look competent”, saying, according to The Hill, “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.” The British Foreign Commonwealth Office indicated that while other officials may or may not agree with Darroch’s assessments, it is important that Darroch be allowed to be candid in those assessments. According to The Hill:

The British government is defending its ambassador to the United States following reports that he described President Trump as “inept” and “incompetent” in memos sent to the British Foreign Commonwealth Office. …The Daily Mail first reported Saturday that Darroch made disparaging remarks about Trump in a series of secret diplomatic cables between 2017 and now. CNN later confirmed the report. …“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country,” a spokesperson for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement Saturday, according to reports. “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.”

The spokesperson for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office did express, if politely, their displeasure that Darroch’s memos had been leaked to the public by indicating that those leaks were “mischievous”, saying in their statement, according to The Hill, “Of course we would expect such advice to be handled by ministers and civil servants in the right way and it’s important that our ambassadors can offer their advice and for it remain confidential,” while adding that Britain’s “team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behavior.”

This revealed information supports the widely held belief that President Trump is viewed by many of our key allies as incompetent and as overseeing an administration that is similarly bumbling and incapable.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.