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Kim Darroch submitted his resignation on Wednesday as Britain’s ambassador to the United States, following the leak of his candid observations about the Trump administration and the subsequent fierce criticism of him and the British government from President Trump.
“Since the leak of official documents from this embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador,” Mr. Darroch said in his resignation letter. “I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
“Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador,” Mr. Darroch wrote.
On Monday, Mr. Trump said the White House would no longer deal with Mr. Darroch after the leak of confidential emails written by the ambassador that had described the Trump administration as “clumsy and inept.”
Mr. Trump also accused Prime Minister Theresa May of ignoring his advice and mismanaging Britain’s tortured efforts to leave the European Union, a departure now delayed at least until the end of October. As for Mr. Darroch, the president described him as “wacky,” a “very stupid guy,” and a “pompous fool.”
The dispute has cast a shadow over ties between London and Washington and has taken center stage in the contest to succeed Mrs. May as prime minister.
During a TV debate on Tuesday night, Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary and favorite to succeed Mrs. May, refused several opportunities to say that he would keep Mr. Darroch in his post until a scheduled departure date in January. He also declined to criticize Mr. Trump and played down the rift.
That probably made Mr. Darroch’s position untenable, given that Mr. Johnson is the clear front-runner in the contest and is likely to become prime minister later this month.
By contrast, the rival candidate, Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, described Mr. Trump’s comments as “unacceptable” and said that he would keep Mr. Darroch in his job.
With Mr. Johnson intent on Britain leaving the European Union in October, the “special relationship” with Washington is of particular importance given that Mr. Tump has promised a trade agreement with Britain.
“I think the reality was that in light of the last few days his ability to be effective was probably limited,” Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said Wednesday morning in Washington. “So it was probably the right course.”
In response to Mr. Darroch’s decision, Mrs. May paid tribute to him and said that the whole cabinet had rightly given him its support.
“Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice. I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that, and I hope the house will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure,” she said.
Simon McDonald, the head civil servant in the British Foreign Office, said he had accepted the resignation “with deep personal regret.”
“Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class. The prime minister, foreign secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job.”