Donald Trump ordered the removal of Britain’s ambassador in Washington Kim Darroch after leaked cables showed the diplomat making disparaging comments about him, The Telegraph has learned.
In a remarkable break with diplomatic norms, the US president is understood to have told his national security adviser John Bolton to “get him out of here” after the cables were published in July 2019.
Mr Bolton told this newspaper after receiving the call he then telephoned Britain’s top civil servant, Sir Mark Sedwill, and said “things are going to get worse unless you can figure out how to get him out”.
It is understood Sir Mark pushed back hard, with one ex-White House source who helped manage the fallout calling him “furious” and “white-hot”. But within days Mr Darroch, now Lord Darroch, had quit.
A US president demanding the sacking of a sitting UK ambassador is a stark breach of precedent. A historian who once held the top US history post at Cambridge University said he could not think of a similar modern example.
Donald Trump gave the dismissal order of UK ambassador Kim Darroch after leaked cables
The episode came to light as this newspaper talked to more than 20 people who saw the UK-US relationship up close under Mr Trump and got details of official meeting notes, revealing the strains placed on the special relationship.
It can also be reported:
- The White House repeatedly lobbied for Mr Trump to stay in Buckingham Palace during his UK state visit last year as Barack Obama had done
- White House advisers feared Mr Trump would have a “hissy fit” if he saw protesters during the trip and worked with UK officials to avoid that happening
- Sir Mark once complained to Mr Trump’s top national security adviser about a presidential tweet which he called “inaccurate, meddlesome and offensive”
- The US president privately expressed his opposition to Scottish independence and feared it would lead to the end of the British Open golf tournament
- Mr Trump repeatedly urged Mrs May to take a tougher stance in Brexit talks to create “leverage” and was frustrated she ignored his advice
- The spat over the UK ambassador to the US was triggered when the Mail on Sunday published leaked cables which Lord Darroch, who became a peer after he left government, had sent back to London.
In the candid memos never meant to be made public Lord Darroch described Mr Trump as “radiating insecurity” and called his early administration “inept”. US broadcasters soon picked up the story.
Mr Bolton, who then was White House national security adviser but has since left, told The Daily Telegraph in detail how the president reacted and what happened next.
“The hardest US-UK issue really was when some of the cables back from the UK ambassador became public,” Mr Bolton said, looking back at his year in the White House.
“I think the morning they appeared Trump called me and said ‘get him out of here’. I mean at like seven in the morning or six in the morning. Early. I was at the office but even for Trump that was early.
“So I called [Sir Mark] Sedwill. It was out in the press in Britain, obviously, everybody knew about it. I said ‘this isn’t going to end well, you’ve got to pull him out’.