LONDON – Britain’s government on Tuesday flatly rejected President-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion that Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage should be U.K. ambassador to Washington, saying: “There is no vacancy.”
Trump tweeted in the early hours that he would like to see the right-wing, anti-immigration politician appointed to represent Britain “as their ambassador to the United States,” adding: “He would do a great job!”
The suggestion was posted hours after Trump said he would immediately withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — a major move that was announced in a YouTube video with no reporters present.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May told NBC News: "There is no vacancy. We already have an excellent ambassador to the United States."
While leaders can pick their own diplomats, it is unprecedented to publicly suggest that other nations should appoint particular individuals.
Trump's unlikely recommendation was welcomed by a few on social media in the U.K. but greeted mostly with scorn. Tim Farron, leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, said it was a "frankly stupid idea."
Britain voted to quit the European Union in a June 23 referendum after a successful campaign led by Boris Johnson – now Britain’s Foreign Secretary – and endorsed by Farage. However, Farage is a bitter political rival to May and Johnson’s ruling Conservative government and is not an elected member of the House of Commons. He is an interim leader of the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) and a member of the European Parliament.
Farage welcomed Trump's suggestion, writing on right-wing news site Breitbart that he had offered his services to PM May.
"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," he wrote. "The world has changed and its time that Downing Street did too."