In his latest surprising tweet on Monday evening, Donald Trump revealed an unprecedented expression of support for Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage - whom he met after his election victory before any other EU leaders - to be made British ambassador to Washington, saying "many people would like to see Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!."
Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
In response, Farage said: "I'm very flattered by the comments and I have said since I met the president-elect that I would like to do anything I can to act in a positive way to help relationships between our two countries." He then added on Twitter that "I have known several of the Trump team for years and I am in a good position with the President-elect’s support to help."
I have known several of the Trump team for years and I am in a good position with the President-elect’s support to help.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 22, 2016
However, Prime Minister Theresa May, who congratulated Trump on his victory, was 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."
As Reuters points out, 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.
The way ambassadors are chosen in the United States and Europe differ significantly. It is common practise 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. As leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and one of the key figures of the successful Brexit campaign, Farage has repeatedly angered EU leaders by predicting the collapse of the EU, which he says is run by an out of touch elite of "idiots".
Farage said Trump's suggestion that he serve as ambassador had come "like a bolt from the blue" but Trump understood loyalty in a way that those in the "cesspit" of career politics did not.
"I am in a good position with the President-elect’s support to help. The world has changed and it's time that Downing Street did too," Farage said in an article written for the Breitbart news website. "I would do anything to help our national interest and to help cement ties with the incoming Anglophile administration," Farage said. His full statement below:
"Like a bolt from the blue Trump tweeted out that I would do a great job as the UK’s Ambassador to Washington.
I can still scarcely believe that he did that though speaking to a couple of his long time friends perhaps I am a little less surprised.
They all say the same thing: that Trump is a very loyal man and supports those that stand by him.
It is called trust and it is how the whole world of business operates. Sadly, the cesspit that is career politics understands nothing of this. In their world the concept of trust is transitory.
The political revolution of 2016 now sees a new order in charge of Washington. In the United Kingdom the people have spoken but the players at the top have, I am afraid, stayed the same.
Those who supported Remain now hold senior positions. Worst still, those who were openly abusive about Trump now pretend to be his friend.
It is career politics at its worst and it is now getting in the way of the national interest.
I have said since the now famous photograph with Donald Trump ten days ago that I would do anything to help our national interest and to help cement ties with the incoming Anglophile administration.
At every stage I am greeted by negative comments coming out of Downing Street. The dislike of me, Ukip, and the referendum result is more important to them than what could be good for our country.
I have known several of the Trump team for years and I am in a good position with the President-elect’s support to help. The world has changed and its time that Downing Street did too."
A photograph of Trump greeting one of the EU's biggest critics before a gilded elevator shortly after the U.S. election caused consternation in EU capitals, many of whom are set to hold elections in which right-wing parties are in a resurgent position and threaten to sweep away the status quo.
Once shunned by Britain's mainstream media and its political establishment, Farage peppers his speeches with jokes and the odd expletive while railing against what he calls the doomed European superstate and immigration into Britain.
Farage said Trump would be a great president after "the political revolution" that brought Brexit in Britain and Trump to power in the United States.
"In the United Kingdom the people have spoken but the players at the top have, I am afraid, stayed the same," Farage, 52, said. "Those who supported Remain now hold senior positions. Worst still, those who were openly abusive about Trump now pretend to be his friend," said Farage.
Farage called for May to build ties with Trump, who provoked criticism in Britain with his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Queen Elizabeth might invite Trump for a state visit to Britain next year.
When U.S. President Barack Obama said before the referendum that Britain would be at the back of the queue for a trade deal, Farage said it was disgraceful to intervene in the sovereign affairs of Britain.
Judging by the Brexit outcome, Farrage may have been right.
Kim Darroch, the current British ambassador in Washington, did not respond to Reuters requesting comment on Trump's remarks. His email bounced back with an out of office reply saying that the ambassador was traveling.