Trump’s putative man in Brussels hits back at his critics

Trump’s putative man in Brussels hits back at his critics

Correction: As originally published, Tim Newark’s article incorrectly stated that FT political correspondent Henry Mance had falsely told Ted Malloch he had spoken to Oxford Said Business School academic John Hoffmire. In fact, Mr Mance had made no such claim. The article also inaccurately stated that FT industry editor Peggy Hollinger had told Dr Malloch that the FT would not publish a comment piece he had submitted “because it was contrary to their pro-EU policy”, which we accept was untrue. We apologise for these errors.

Dr Ted Malloch speaks exclusively to Tim Newark to respond to his critics

Dr Ted Malloch, widely tipped to be President Trump’s candidate for US Ambassador to the EU, has become embroiled in extraordinary spat this last couple of weeks with that most europhile of organs, the Financial Times. And its most recent assault on Malloch was little more than a hatchet job.

Malloch is happy to go toe-to-toe with the FT over its allegations, but first it’s worth recalling how this episode escalated. Just over ten days ago, the putative US EU Ambassador provoked the ire of the EU establishment by telling the BBC that “I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.”

Outraged MEPs demanded that the European Commission and European Council block his possible nomination. “Should President Trump be otherwise willing to challenge Europe so blatantly,” argued Gianni Pittella MEP, leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, “I think the EU should then declare him [Mr Malloch] ‘persona non grata’.” Malloch shrugged off the assault, telling me “Persona non grata by the EU a badge of honour!”

Last Friday, the FT rushed out an article disputing some of Malloch’s claims in his autobiography, Davos, Aspen and Yale. “After the recent press leaks,” rejoiced Pittella elsewhere, “[Malloch’s] personal credibility has been heavily put into question, something I would suggest President Trump take into consideration before making his choice.”

To be honest, such comments from a Socialist MEP would be more likely to encourage Mr Trump to fast-track Malloch’s appointment.

But Malloch keenly contests the FT’s claims. The FT says there is no evidence that Margaret Thatcher called him a “global sherpa” but author H Skip Weitzen was at the 1992 CNN Congress and asserts that Lady Thatcher thanked Ted Malloch, “a global sherpa”, for asking her to speak at the conference. “I don’t remember much that Lady Thatcher said after that,” says Weitzen, “but for the next 25 years, I have referred to Ted Malloch in emails and articles as A Global Sherpa.”

The FT says that Malloch falsely claimed to have been made a laird by the Lord Lyon. Yet Malloch acquired the title when he bought a property in Aberdeenshire and subsequently received a copy of the Coat of Arms.

The headline on the FT article trumpets that “Oxford distances itself from Trump favourite Malloch” and the piece cites a spokesperson for Oxford University saying Malloch was not a fellow at Wolfson or Pembroke Colleges. Dr Christopher Hancock has since confirmed Malloch was a fellow at Wolfson, while Malloch explains he was a summer teaching fellow at Pembroke and has receipts of payments from both colleges proving this.

The FT says that Malloch did not finish his doctorate in three years; he did complete all the work in that timeframe, but defended the thesis a year later, receiving his doctorate in the next available graduation ceremony. And so it goes on.

Much of the FT’s claims end up being quibbles, and clearly the most recent article was put together with the express intention of embarrassing Malloch as he clashed with MEPs over his possible nomination for the job in Brussels.

Yet here is a potentially influential man who has a strong liking for Britain and wishes to see Brexit work well for our country. He has the backing of a US President who likewise wants to see Brexit succeed. Surely that’s good news for UK Ltd?  No man should be immune to the probing of journalists, but this time the FT does seem to have gone out of its way to serve the interests of Brussels’ anti-Trump MEPs.

Malloch takes it all with a pinch of salt. “The architecture of the world is changing,” he warns the EU, “shifting to more reliance on sovereign nation states and away from integrated blocs or supranational entities. In Trump’s world the future is not what it was.”