President Donald Trump reacted to British Ambassador Kim Darroch's leaked memos roasting Trump's performance with a show of petulant vanity that befits a pre-World War I monarch whose feathers have been ruffled.
Darroch advised colleagues in 2017: “As seen from here, we really don’t believe that this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction-riven, less diplomatically clumsy and inept."
Darroch also warned that Trump's ability to weather scandal shouldn't be underrated.
His analysis holds up well. High-level turnover, infighting among White House figures Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson and others at the time were all well-documented. Trump's messages abroad have conflicted with those of his top aides, his policies shift on a dime, and seasoned experts have streamed out of the State Department and other agencies.
True to Darroch's words, the president so far has dodged a bullet in the Russia scandal despite actions his own inner circle regarded as inept.
Darroch called U.S. policy on Iran “incoherent.” Britain didn't take it well when Trump pulled out of the carefully-crafted nuclear accord. The White House indeed has yet to make clear exactly what might happen next — beyond tighter sanctions and unwavering U.S. support for Saudi Arabia, the Tehran regime's royal rival.
The ambassador didn't buy Trump's assertion that he stopped a planned U.S. military strike against Iran after suddenly learning that civilians would likely die. Darroch suggested Trump really was more likely to have been worried how an attack would play with the voters. Given Trump's propensity to lie, that makes sense, too.
“For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity,” Darroch wrote.
Nobody needed pilfered documents from the likes of an Edward Snowden or a Julian Assange to reach that conclusion. In fact, Trump's two days of obsessive public reaction to this insulting yet insignificant British leak reinforces the point.
He carped that outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May made a "mess" of Brexit, despite saying weeks ago she'd done a "very good job" while basking in what he called his "magnificent State Visit."
Darroch, he said, "is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him."
Actually, Trump's circle has socialized plenty with Darroch, as published photos show.
Still, Trump on Tuesday called him a "very stupid guy" and a "pompous fool."
Trump's "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I" demeanor was parried in adult fashion by Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary from the Conservative Party.
"Allies need to treat each other with respect as [Theresa May] has always done with you," Hunt tweeted. "Ambassadors are appointed by the UK government and if I become PM our Ambassador stays."
Darroch isn’t staying, however. He says he will depart soon due to the leak flap. Maybe they should give him a raise or bonus just for having been alert and sensible.