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Kim Darroch. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch resigned Wednesday after days of controversy over his leaked cables back to London regarding President Trump's temperament.

Why it matters: The ensuing firestorm severely damaged his public reputation with the Trump administration — kicking off a war of words between the U.S. and the U.K. — and made him a persona non grata in the White House.

The backdrop, as outlined by Axios' Dave Lawler: Darroch described Trump's administration as "inept" and "incompetent" in private memos back to London that leaked to the Mail on Sunday.

  • After Prime Minister Theresa May declined to censure Darroch, Trump unleashed a series of tweets accusing the prime minister of taking a "foolish" approach to Brexit, and claiming his administration would cut off ties with the ambassador.
  • That forced U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to step in, calling Trump's comments "disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country."

The big picture: Hunt, who is among the final two to become the next Conservative Party leader and, thus, prime minister, also said he'd keep Darroch should he be elected. Boris Johnson, the wide favorite to defeat Hunt in the race for Conservative leader, condemned the leaks but would not commit to retaining Darroch as ambassador.

What Darroch said in his resignation letter:

"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.
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.
I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.
I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands."

Go deeper: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will square off to replace Theresa May

Go deeper

Cold December as safety nets expire

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Safety nets are likely to be yanked from underneath millions of vulnerable Americans in December, as the coronavirus surges.

Why it matters: Those most at risk are depending on one or more relief programs that are set to expire, right as the economic recovery becomes more fragile than it's been in months.

15 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

17 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.