On Saturday, memos were leaked to the British tabloid the Daily Mail. In those memos, Britain’s ambassador to the United States called Donald Trump “uniquely dysfunctional.” He also expressed grave concerns about both American economic and foreign policy.
The leaked documents were prepared by Sir Kim Darroch and cover the entirety of the Trump presidency. The memos even touch on Donald Trump’s trip to the UK, which included a visit to Buckingham Palace.
Darroch wrote that after Trump’s visit, that the UK might now be “flavor of the month” in Trump’s eyes. But the leaked memos could quickly change that.
Darroch goes on to describe “vicious infighting and chaos” within the Trump administration and added that collusion between Trump and “dodgy Russians” was possible.
He went on to warn that an “America First”-style foreign policy could undermine international trade agreements, and warned negotiations over Brexit could introduce further conflict into the two countries’ diplomatic relations.
Trump has endorsed Brexit in the past and recommended the UK “walk away” from the EU without a deal ahead of his state visit.
“As we advance our agenda of deepening and strengthening trading arrangements, divergences of approach on climate change, media freedoms, and the death penalty may come to the fore,” the ambassador wrote.
Darroch criticized Trump’s foreign policy more generally and cited the administration’s stance on Iran as being of great concern.
He wrote about Donald Trump’s last-minute decision to call off a military strike against Iran. He cautioned his government to be wary of believing Trump’s rationale for canceling the strike.
“His claim, however, that he changed his mind because of 150 predicted casualties doesn’t stand up; he would certainly have heard this figure in his initial briefing,” Darroch wrote. “It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look [during the 2020 election].”
Darroch then warned that the US president could still choose to strike Iran: “Just one more Iranian attack somewhere in the region could trigger yet another Trump U-turn.”
Darroch described the president as “clumsy and inept,” and wrote, “I don’t think this Administration will ever look competent.”
In a statement issued in response to the leak, Britain’s Foreign Office defended their diplomat.
“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country,” the statement read in part. “Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid. Just as the U.S. ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly complicated the United States’ relationship with Britain by squabbling with various political figures and inserting himself into that country’s political process.
It is unclear who leaked the memos, and the White House has not yet commented on them.