Kim Darroch, Britain's ambassador to the United States, resigned Wednesday, saying it was "impossible" to continue in his role following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he assailed President Donald Trump as "inept" and his administration as "uniquely dysfunctional."
"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," Darroch said in a statement.
He had been Britain's top diplomat in Washington since 2016, predating Trump's presidency. But with the disclosure of his comments in diplomatic cables sent to London, British officials had predicted this week that his days in Washington would soon end. Some British officials say they expect more of Darroch's assessments of the U.S. president will soon be leaked.
In one of the cables published in Britain last weekend, the 65-year-old Darroch said, "We don't really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction driven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept."
The leaked cables were intended for the eyes of senior British ministers and civil servants, but officials believe the leaker will be found among British politicians or officials, not a foreign government.
Trump claimed he did not know Darroch, but U.S. news accounts say the president and Darroch have both been present at the same Washington events.
Trump: British Ambassador 'a Very Stupid Guy' US leader continues attacks on Kim Darroch after envoy, in a leaked diplomatic cable, called Trump 'inept' and 'incompetent'
After learning of Darroch's assessment of him, Trump responded on Twitter by calling Darroch "a very stupid guy" and a "pompous fool," and had declared he would "no longer deal" with him.
Trump used his attacks on Darroch to also renew his claim that he told British Prime Minister Theresa May how to carry out Brexit, Britain's planned, but so far unsuccessful exit from the European Union, but that May "went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster!"
That broadside against Britain and its leader, long a staunch U.S. ally, drew a sharp rebuke Tuesday from British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said Trump's comments were "disrespectful and wrong."
Hunt said that if he becomes the British prime minister when May leaves office at the end of the month he would have retained Darroch as ambassador to Washington.
Trump had no immediate comment on Darroch's departure.