US Politics: UK ambassador dubbed 'stupid' by Trump resigns over diplomatic row

British ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch meets Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in 2016

Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the US, has resigned. Tradefair brings you the latest from US politics...

“The wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled.”

- Donald Trump

The US government will soon be working with a new British ambassador, after the previous holder of the post, Sir Kim Darroch, resigned over a diplomatic row triggered by leaked emails.

Sir Kim was critical of the Trump administration in the internal memos, which led to a Twitter tirade from the US president in which he called the former ambassador a "very stupid guy".

Mr Trump also took the opportunity to criticise outgoing prime minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit, saying he advised her how to approach the negotiations but she "went her own foolish way".

'Inept' and 'dysfunctional'

The row began when a leak in the UK Foreign Office led to the Mail on Sunday publishing emails sent by Sir Kim that were highly critical of the current administration in the United States.

He questioned whether this White House "will ever look competent".

"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," Sir Kim wrote in the leaked messages.

Regarding the potential future relationship between the US and the UK after Brexit, the emails said it's possible that differences between the countries on issues such as climate change, media freedoms and the death penalty could become more prominent.

The former ambassador also said the Trump administration will continue to prioritise domestic interests over international relations, stressing that "this is still the land of 'America first'".

Three days after the leaked emails came to light, Sir Kim confirmed his resignation as UK ambassador to the US, saying that the diplomatic fracas had made it "impossible" for him to continue in the role.

Mrs May said Sir Kim was owed "an enormous debt of gratitude" and his departure was "a matter of deep regret", but President Trump was much less complimentary in his comments about the former ambassador.

'Wacky' and 'pompous'

Tweeting the day before Sir Kim announced his resignation, Mr Trump was characteristically forthright in his assessment of the ambassador, as well as the British government's handling of the country's long-awaited withdrawal from the European Union.

"The wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled," he said.

Mr Trump also said he didn't know Sir Kim but had been told he is "a pompous fool", before going on to claim that the US now has "the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far".

On the issue of Brexit, the president said he told Mrs May "how it should be done", but the prime minister and her representatives created a "mess" by deciding to go a different way.

With less than two weeks to go until the winner of the current Conservative party leadership contest is announced, the Trump administration will soon be dealing with a new British prime minister - either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt - and a new ambassador.

Maintaining positive ties with the US could be a vital priority for the incoming prime minister as Britain seeks to improve its international trade relationships after Brexit.

Record highs

As far as the US economy is concerned, President Trump has repeatedly claimed it is "the best in the world".

One area where there has been particularly strong performance is the stock markets, which reached record highs on Wednesday this week, after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell hinted that a cut in interest rates could be on the horizon.

Mr Powell referred to various factors that could hinder the performance of the US economy, making the case for looser monetary policy.

"It appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the US economic outlook," he said.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called on the Federal Reserve to stimulate economic growth by lowering interest rates, but California Democrat and House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters urged Mr Powell "not to submit to the pressure tactics of this president".

The Fed chairman's comments seemed to have an immediate impact on stock market performance, with the S&P 500 briefly passing the 3,000 mark for the first time and both the Nasdaq composite index and Dow Jones industrial average also reaching all-time highs.

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