Jul 6, 2019

U.K. defends ambassador to U.S. amid reports he called Trump "inept"

US President Donald Trump waits for a dinner with Latin American and US leaders at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly September 18, 2017 in New York City.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The U.K. ambassador to the United States called President Trump "incompetent" and "inept" in communications sent to Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Daily Mail first reported Saturday.

Details: CNN reports British officials confirmed that Kim Darroch's reported remarks are "genuine." The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not dispute the veracity of the leaked diplomatic cables, AFP notes. A spokesperson said in a statement to news outlets about diplomats, "We pay them to be candid."

The big picture: In the diplomatic cables, said to span from 2017 to the present day, Darroch reportedly described conflicts within the Trump administration as "knife fights." He also reportedly said he didn't believe the White House would “ever look competent" and that Trump's presidency could "crash and burn" and "end in disgrace."

"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."
— Memo attributed to Kim Darroch

What they're saying: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson stressed in her media statement that the opinions of diplomats "are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government."

"The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. ... Our team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behaviour [as the leaking of diplomatic cables.]"
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