British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson dismisses U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s unprecedented expression of support for Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage to be made British ambassador to Washington, saying pointedly in parliament that there is no vacancy for the job.
(PARLIAMENT TV) – Britain on Tuesday dismissed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s unprecedented expression of support for Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage to be made British ambassador to Washington, saying pointedly that there is no vacancy for the job.
Trump, who after his election victory met Farage before any EU leaders, said on Twitter that “many people” would like to see the former metals trader turned politician as Britain’s ambassador.
“Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!” Trump said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who congratulated Trump on his victory, was also swift to reject such an undiplomatic proposal.
“There is no vacancy,” a Downing Street spokesman said when asked about Trump’s remark on Tuesday. “We already have an excellent ambassador to the US.”
It is highly unusual in the modern era for leaders to publicly suggest to foreign nations whom they would like to see as ambassador, though during strained relations they sometimes reject or expel envoys.
It is common practice for the United States to appoint celebrities or campaign donors as envoys, for example when Richard Nixon appointed Shirley Temple as his envoy to Ghana in 1974.
European states mostly appoint career diplomats or officials with long experience as ambassadors.
Farage, who spent decades campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union and helped force former Prime Minister David Cameron call the June referendum that brought the Brexit vote, spoke at a Trump rally during the U.S. campaign and visited the president-elect after his victory.
Kim Darroch, the current British ambassador in Washington, did not reply to emails from Reuters requesting comment on Trump’s remarks. His email bounced back with an out of office reply saying that the ambassador was traveling.