Trump govt dysfunctional, inept, UK envoy says in secret memos

LONDON • Britain's ambassador to the United States described President Donald Trump's administration as "dysfunctional", "clumsy" and "inept", the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported, citing a series of confidential memos.

In memos to the British government which date from 2017 to the present, Mr Kim Darroch said Mr Trump "radiates insecurity" and advises officials in London that to deal with him effectively "you need to make your points simple, even blunt".

"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," he wrote in one memo, according to the newspaper.

In others, the newspaper said the envoy had described the administration as "uniquely dysfunctional" and that media reports about White House "knife fights" are "mostly true".

Mr Darroch wrote: "We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral, rather than just a roller-coaster: something could emerge that leads to disgrace and downfall."

But he also warned British officials not to write Mr Trump off, saying there was a "credible path" to his winning a second term in office. He said Mr Trump may "emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator".

The Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Mail on Sunday cited a spokesman as saying that the public would expect diplomats "to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their countries".

"Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid," the spokesman was quoted as saying.


In a memo written last month, Mr Darroch described confusion within the administration over Mr Trump's decision to abort a military strike on Iran, and that the US President citing the number of predicted casualties as the reason he had changed his mind "didn't stand up".

"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 come 2020," Mr Darroch wrote, adding that Mr Trump could still trigger a conflict with Iran. "Just one more Iranian attack somewhere in the region could trigger yet another Trump U-turn."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2019, with the headline 'Trump govt dysfunctional, inept, UK envoy says in secret memos'. Print Edition | Subscribe