President Donald Trump on Monday said he “will no longer deal with” the British High Commissioner to the United States whose confidential diplomatic cables critical of the American president were leaked to the media over the weekend.
Kim Darroch, British top diplomat in Washington since 2016, assailed Mr Trump as “incompetent” and “headed towards a disgraceful end” in a series of diplomatic cables published by the Daily Mail on Sunday.
Mr Darroch sent the stinging criticisms in the form of cables and briefing notes to his bosses back at the Foreign Office in London between 2017 and this month, the newspaper reported.
He chastised Mr Trump’s government as “uniquely dysfunctional” and one regularly engages in “knife fights,” warning that the administration could end in “disgrace.”
The Foreign Office did not dispute the accuracy of the memos but said they were nothing unusual as all countries expect their ambassadors to provide a honest assessment of the situation in their host countries.
The department also said Mr Darroch’s messages were his personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the position of the UK government and its policies.
In a pair of tweets on Monday, Mr Trump knocked both Mr Darroch and his boss, Prime Minister Theresa May, saying they had made a mess out of Brexit.
While expressing his delight that the UK will soon have a new prime minister, Mr Trump said he did not know Mr Darroch, belittling the diplomat “not liked or well thought of” in Washington. He also said the U.S. would no longer work with him.
Still, the U.S. president complimented Britain as “wonderful” and said he was “most impressed” with Queen Elizabeth during his state visit early last month.
American media also reported on Monday that the White House has revoked an invitation to Mr Darroch for a reception with the Emir of Qatar.
The leak has been widely seen as particularly ill-timed for the UK, coming as the country eyes a post-Brexit special trade deal with the U.S., should it ultimately leave the European Union.
The active deadline for Brexit is October 31.