The U.K. Foreign Office says Britain’s ambassador to the United States has resigned just days after diplomatic cables criticizing President Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” were leaked and hours after Trump labeled him “stupid” and “wacky.”
Kim Darroch said in a letter Wednesday that even though his posting was due to end this year, he believed he needed to stand down now.
“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,” Darroch wrote.
“I want to put an end to that speculation,” he added. ” The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
He said that “in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”
Darroch also said he is “grateful to all those in the UK and the U.S., who have offered their support during this difficult few days.”
In his confidential memos dating from 2017 to the present published in Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, Darroch, 65, had said reports of in-fighting in the White House were “mostly true” and last month described confusion within the administration over Trump’s decision to call off a military strike on Iran.
“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,” Darroch wrote in one cable.
May told parliament that ministers had expressed their backing for Darroch, a career diplomat who was due to leave his post anyway at the end of the year.
“I have told him it is a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position as ambassador to Washington,” she said. “The whole cabinet rightly gave its full support to Sir Kim on Tuesday.”
The souring of relations between Britain and the United States comes at a particularly unwelcome time for London, which is mired in the details of how and when to leave the European Union, a departure currently scheduled for Oct. 31.
Britain is hoping to strike a major post-Brexit trade deal with Washington as one of the upsides of leaving the bloc.
May is due to step down as prime minister by the end of July and while one of the two contenders to replace her, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, had said Darroch should keep his job, the other, frontrunner Boris Johnson, had pointedly declined to do so.