Former British ambassador to the US Lord Kim Darroch says Boris Johnson is fascinated by Donald Trump. He’s also said Johnson has probably been inspired by the US president, and is intrigued by his American counterpart’s patchy relationship “with the facts and the truth”.
In a new book serialised in the Times, Darroch said Johnson must share the blame for his resignation as ambassador to Washington, which followed the leaking of diplomatic cables disparaging Trump. Darroch wrote that Johnson had been “fascinated” by Trump on visits to Washington as foreign secretary, before he became prime minister, with particular focus on the president’s use of language.
According to Darroch, this includes:
the limited vocabulary, the simplicity of the messaging, the disdain for political correctness, the sometimes incendiary imagery, and the at best intermittent relationship with facts and the truth
In an interview accompanying the excerpts, Darroch was asked if any of those characteristics had rubbed off on Johnson.
From what I hear from colleagues, this Government pays a lot of attention to presentation, to language. But if you go back through the current Prime Minister’s history, he’s often said quite striking things. And he never apologises. So, Boris might have done this anyway, but certainly, having watched Trump in action, he wouldn’t have been put off.
Trump considered Johnson “a kindred spirit”, according to the former ambassador. Following the leaking of a cable in which he said Trump was “inept” as president, Darroch had to resign from his ambassador post.
Johnson, who was then running for the Conservative leadership, repeatedly refused to say he would keep Darroch in the post during a TV debate on 9 July last year. Darroch resigned the next day and spoke with Johnson by phone. Darroch told the paper:
[Johnson] said: ‘But why did you resign? Wouldn’t it all have blown over after a few weeks?’
In answer to Johnson’s question as to whether the resignation was his fault, Darroch told him that “in part it was”.
After Darroch left the diplomatic corps following a 42-year career, Trump called him “the wacky ambassador”, “pompous”, and “a very stupid guy”.
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