Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were just a few of Donald Trump‘s advisers who were regular guests at parties hosted by British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.
Sir Darroch used the residence of the British ambassador – a posh embassy designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens that The Washington Post called ‘the finest in the world’ – to wine and dine many people close to President Donald Trump as his way to curry favor with the new administration.
The list of attendees at a long list of glamorous parties includes those who have daily contact with Trump, who has declared war on Sir Kim after the Mail revealed diplomatic postings written by the ambassador that were critical of the president and his administration.
British Ambassador Kim Darroch and his wife Vanessa pose for a photo at a reception to celebrate the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan at the British Ambassador’s residence in May 2018
Sir Kim welcomes White House counselor Kellyanne Conway at a party for the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in May 2018
The British Embassy lite up for a celebration
Conway was at a March 7 reception for women in the 116th Congress while Whitaker, Mike Pence aide Marty Obst and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer were at the Embassy’s 2018 New Year’s Eve party – as were White House press aide Giovanna Coia and her now-fiance Justin Pence, the vice president’s nephew who works for the 2020 Trump campaign.
At a November 2017 party to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, powerful Republican donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson – who are close to Trump – were in attendance and, at an October 2017 party in honor of the IMF/World Bank meeting, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was among the guests.
On Sept. 10, 2017, Sir Kim hosted an engagement party for then-deputy White House chief off staff Katie Walsh and her fiance Mike Shields. Then chief of staff Reince Preibus, Mnuchin, former White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders, then-top Trump aide Johnny DeStefano, and deputy communications director Jessica Ditto were among the guests.
Sanders, along with press aides Lindsay Walters and Hogan Gidley, were at the embassy for a 2018 White House Correspondents’ dinner party.
The Embassy also hosted a a Jan. 18, 2017 party in honor of Trump’s inauguration.
Among the guests were Giuliani, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Trump adviser and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, top Pence aide Marc Short, Trump inauguration committee chairman Tom Barrack, and Trump adviser Seb Gorka.
Politico’s Playbook, a morning newsletter that chronicles daily happenings in Washington D.C. including guest lists at various A-list parties, offered highlights of which members of Team Trump hit the embassy party circuit.
Additionally, White House counselor Jared Kushner, then-chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counselor Steve Bannon all attended embassy events, The New York Times reported.
And Conway, Sanders, Trump adviser Stephen Miller, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Trump ally Chris Ruddy have all been guests for private dinners at the embassy.
Sir Kim greets former New York City Rudy Giuliani at an Afternoon Tea hosted by the British Embassy to mark Trump’s inauguration in January 2017
Sir Kim and Lady Darroch greet actress Bellamy Young at a 2016 White House Correspondents’ dinner party
Sir Kim was assigned to Washington D.C. in 2015 during the Obama years; above President Obama receives his credentials
Additionally, Darroch frequently meets with National Security Adviser John Bolton and had early-morning breakfast meetings with Kelly, the Washington Post reported.
In addition to hosting parties, Sir Kim and his wife Lady Vanessa Darroch are regulars at Washington events featuring prominent administration officials, including the annual White House Correspondents dinner and the Gridiron dinner.
Sir Kim is not the first ambassador to use the embassy’s gilded and marble setting to tout British interests but his tenure has come under fire since Trump named him person-non grata after his criticism was revealed in cables to the British government.
But the embassy – and the American fascination with the British royal family – has been put to good use by Sir Kim, who’s also held parties to celebrate British majesty and culture.
One of his major non-political event was a party in honor of the royal wedding of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex.
‘The interest, excitement and support from Americans for the royal wedding has been extraordinary,’ Darroch told The Washington Post of the party. ‘The British people are thrilled that Prince Harry is marrying an American.’
Spotted at that party were former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Sanders, Priebus, IMF head Christine Lagarde and former secretary of state Colin Powell.
Sir Kim Darroch speaks before the famous Andy Warhol painting of Queen Elizabeth II
Sir Kim Darroch with comedian Michelle Wolf before her controversial speech at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner
Sir Kim, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi at the British Embassy
Darroch has also celebrated British soccer by hosting the Men in Blazers’ podcasting team and met with Wayne Rooney, the UK soccer star who joined the D.C. United team.
Situated next to the vice president’s residence near the Naval Observatory the embassy – valued at over $30 million – is a priceless place to hold parties.
Guests have to be checked in through its iron gates where they are greeted by a statue of Winston Churchill, who has one foot placed on Embassy property and the other foot stepped ahead onto American soil.
Attendees then walk into the ambassador’s residence, following a red carpet up a winding flight of marble stairs where a massive portrait of King George III – who was monarch during the American Revolution – watches down over their arrival.
A black-and-white tiled floor leads to the reception rooms with their glittering chandeliers, marble columns and large fireplaces. Portraits of the Queen dot the rooms and hallways, including Andy Warhol’s famous painting of her, which hangs over the fireplace in the main reception room.
Lutyens designed the building in Queen Anne style to resemble an English country house.
There are large doors that lead out to a terrance with an English garden – an ideal setting for parties. There’s also a tennis court and swimming pool.
The gorgeously designed building is catnip for social media users.
A search of ‘British Embassy Washington D.C.’ on Instagram offers a treasure trove of photos from people who have attended events there.
Trump claims he doesn’t know Sir Kim but the ambassador can be seen at the far right during the president’s meeting with Prime Minister May during the June state visit to the UK
Men in Blazers’ – a popular podcast on soccer – did a podcast from the Embassy
The British Ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C. ; the vice president’s house is next door
In addition to official events, the British Embassy participants in the yearly open house tour that several other embassies take part of, where visitors can walk through the building and enjoy the sights.
Ambassador Darroch and his wife Vanessa – with their two cats – live in an apartment above the state rooms. The felines have free run of the place and often pop up at parties.
Built in 1929, the residence even has a book written about it: ‘The Architecture of Diplomacy: The British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington,’ complete with an introduction written by Charles, Prince of Wales.
Darroch’s cables, however, caused a diplomatic row in the wake of the Trumps successful state visit to the UK last month – a visit partially planned and overseen by Darroch, who joined the president at several events including a state dinner at Buckingham Palace, a visit to Westminster Abbey and a meeting at No 10 Downing street, the residence of Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sir Kim talks to the Men in Blazers podcast before a portrait of the Queen
Sir Kim addresses a gathering at the embassy from the terrace, which looks out onto the English-style gardens
Darroch’s cables to the British government, revealed by the Mail, describe the White House as a ‘uniquely dysfunctional environment’ and called the president an unpredictable character with ‘no filter.’
‘We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,’ read one cable.
Trump retaliated via Twitter, calling Darroch ’wacky,’ ‘very stupid’ and a ‘pompous fool.’
‘The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy,’ Trump wrote Tuesday morning.
He once again claimed that he does not know the ambassador, even though Sir Darroch was part of the entourage entertaining Trump in London during his recent state visit.
Still, Trump wrote, ‘I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far.’
And the White House has given Darroch the cold shoulder, disinviting him from a dinner Monday night at the U.S. Treasury for the visiting Emir of Qatar.
Sir Kim can be seen to the far left (next to the pillar) during the Trumps’ visit to Westminister Abbey during the June state visit to the UK
Trump shakes hands with Sir Kim in March of 2018 at the U.S. Capitol
Trump, himself, said the administration will no longer deal with Darroch.
‘I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him,’ he wrote in a Monday tweet.
May’s office has given Darroch their full support but the United Kingdom is in the process of electing a new prime minister, which could put Darroch’s days in Washington on the chopping block.
British ambassador’s waspish wit comes back to sting him
Sir Kim Darroch was handed one of the most prestigious jobs in the diplomatic service several months before Donald Trump entered the White House.
The Washington ambassadorship – with its lavish embassy parties – is far removed from the council flat Sir Kim grew up in on an Oxfordshire council estate.
Described as witty and humorous by those around him, he was a bright youngster and won a free scholarship to attend Abingdon School, a leading public school that charges £20,000 a year for day pupils.
‘I think I was the only person in the school uniform walking out of this council estate every morning to go to school,’ he recalled in a recent interview.
Sir Kim is pictured with his wife Lady Canessa in Washington DC in April 2016
He joined the diplomatic service in 1977 after leaving Durham University with zoology degree.
From 2007 to 2011 he served in Brussels as the UK Permanent Representative to the EU.
Knighted in 2008, the 65-year-old was David Cameron’s national security adviser from January 2012 to September 2015 before going to Washington.
He is nearing the end of his diplomatic career. In an interview last year he said, ‘I don’t want to sound all Monty Pythonesque’, before adopting a mock Yorkshire accent to add: ‘I were brought up in’ paper bag.
‘But I grew up in a council flat . . . and perhaps because of my background I never feel like I’m in a gilded cage. This job is the privilege of my life.’ Sir Kim and his wife Vanessa soon settled into the private apartment in the embassy, widely regarded as the finest in Washington DC.
His name rose to prominence after the president’s election victory when Mr Trump called for Nigel Farage to replace him as the UK’s man in Washington.
No10 was forced to insist there was ‘no vacancy’ and praised Sir Kim as an ‘excellent ambassador’.
He had earlier hit the headlines when, soon after Mr Trump’s election win, The Sunday Times reported on a secret memo in which Sir Kim apparently suggested the UK could exploit Mr Trump’s inexperience in office.
The memo said: ‘The president-elect is above all an outsider and unknown quantity, whose campaign pronouncements may reveal his instincts, but will surely evolve and, particularly, be open to outside influence if pitched right… We should be well placed to do this.’
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