British Ambassador comes to Richmond
The British Ambassador to the United States of America came to Richmond today as part of a two day tour of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald is the UK’s chief diplomat to the U.S. and serves a very important role in the two country’s relationship.
The Ambassador came to Richmond primarily to meet with Governor Tim Kaine about a new environmental partnership between Britain and Virginia. I actually missed the press event, but if you are interested in that the Times-Dispatch has a nice recap here.
I talked to Ambassador Sheinwald about a number of topics, including Great Britain’s take on the transition of President Barack Obama. Sheinwald made some news during the campaign after a memo he had prepared for the British Foregin Office was leaked to the press. The memo, which was his candid view of the Presidential race, was not intended for the public eye. It contained a frank assessment of then Senator Obama, who was still locked in a tight primary for the Democratic nomination.
More on the Her Majesty’s Ambassador’s visit after the jump.
According to press reports, Sheinwald described Obama as “aloof”, “insensitive” and “decidedly liberal”. He had plenty of good things to say about the future President including that he was “highly intelligent” and possessed “star quality”.
Today during our interview, the Ambassador explained how getting to know the candidates was an important part of his job at the British Embassy and it has helped him adjust to working with the new administration.
“Well It starts of course during the campaign, because of one of the jobs of any embassy during the campaign is of course to get to know the candidates to get to know the people around the candidates and that is what we were able to do along with the other embassies in Washington. But once there is a new administration you begin the business of working closely with them and we’ve done that already in the last couple of weeks. Our foreign secretary, our foreign minister was the first one to meet with Hillary Clinton after the inauguration. We’ve had teams here over the past week, dealing with the economy and this week dealing with climate change and the environment. So we are rolling our sleeves up and we are getting to work with the new administration, but of course that is going to take time as the new administration settles in.”
Video from the interview is below..