- Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the US, angered President Donald Trump by referring to his administration as “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent” in leaked cables.
- Darroch was disinvited from dinner with Trump and the emir of Qatar at the Treasury Department on Monday night,Bloomberg and CBS reporter Mark Knoller reported.
- This could be the start of the White House’s attempts to freeze Darroch out in Washington, where the opportunities to shun a diplomat are many.
- A US diplomacy expert at the Chatham House think tank told Business Insider that Darroch will now “be marginalized on a daily basis.”
- It prompted experts to wonder whether Trump will start looking to other British officials for an ally, or look beyond the UK entirely.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The British ambassador who called Trump “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent” in a series of leaked diplomatic cables was reportedly disinvited from a Monday dinner.
It appears to be a swift enactment of Trump’s intention to freeze out Sir Kim Darroch, the first of many opportunities to show official displeasure.
Sir Kim Darroch was notably absent from a dinner that US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hosted for President Donald Trump and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, Bloomberg and CBS reporter Mark Knoller reported.
Both cited unnamed US officials who said his invitation had been rescinded. Darroch’s invitation after Trump tweeted on Monday that “we will no longer deal” with the British ambassador, Bloomberg and Knoller said.
Trump’s tweet did not make clear whether the administration would cut off all communication with Darroch. The White House has yet to respond to Business Insider’s request for clarification.
Business Insider has contacted the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for confirmation and comment.
Monday’s dinner, which was held in the Treasury Department’s historic Treasury Cash Room, was attended by US officials including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Transport Secretary Elaine Chao, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner facing charges of soliciting prostitution and paying for sex in Florida, was on Trump’s table, photos of the event show.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF director nominated to lead the European Central Bank, was also pictured at the table.
“This is a who’s who of people in business,” Trump said of the attendees, according to White House pool reporters.
At President Trump’s table for tonight’s dinner: emir of Qatar, Christine Lagarde, Sec. Mnuchin and Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft pic.twitter.com/2Goqr7baQn
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) July 9, 2019
Freezing Darroch out of Washington?
Darroch’s leaked memos have already irked the Trump administration, and his apparent disinvitation from Monday’s dinner could be the start of the White House’s campaign to shun him in Washington.
Trump on Tuesday further piled on Darroch, calling him in a series of tweets a “a wacky Ambassador,” “not someone we are thrilled with,” “a very stupid guy,” and “a pompous fool.”
Prior to the leak the British ambassador had hosted many high-profile events, which were attended by White House officials including Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Mnuchin, Politico reported.
Their past attendance seem to contradict Trump’s claim on Monday that Darroch “is not liked or well thought of within the US.”
However, now that the displeasure of the president has been noted publicly, Trump’s inner circle may help make this a reality.
‘There are no winners here’
Despite Trump’s protestations, British Prime Minister Theresa May defended Darroch, saying that she has “full faith” in him even though she disagrees with his view of the president.
Leslie Vinjamuri, head of Chatham House’s US and Americas program, told Business Insider: “Britain will keep Sir Kim in Washington, and he will be marginalized on a daily basis.”
“There are no winners here. Not in America and not in London. The US and UK need each other,” she added.
“Trump is now going to be doing a workaround. The question is whether he looks to others in the British government for an ally, or whether he simply looks beyond Britain.”
The New York Times cited unnamed British officials in the US as saying that the leak may have been engineered to ensure that Sir Mark Sedwill, the current head of the UK civil service and a longtime diplomat, was not appointed.
According to this theory, the leak may have been trying to encourage the UK to appoint a more pro-Trump, pro-Brexit diplomat to succeed Darroch, the Times reported.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has snubbed its allies in Washington.
Last year it quietly downgraded the EU’s diplomatic status, for an unexplained reason, from being the equivalent of a full nation state to a lesser rank.
This manifested itself when the EU ambassador, David O’Sullivan, was called on last from a line of more than 150 diplomats to pay respects at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral last December.
The administration also left O’Sullivan out of diplomatic events for weeks. The higher rank was later restored.
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