Last night’s Guildhall dinner in honour of Ronald Reagan‘s centenary was a truly glittering and warm occasion.
The British roasted lamb and the sunny Californian chardonnay evoked the close Anglo-US relationship of Reagan and Thatcher as much as the fine speeches by Condi Rice and William Hague.
“Our ambassador should be here,” said Lynn de Rothschild, the American entrepreneur who is married to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and was one of Hillary Clinton‘s key fundraisers in 2008 as well as a supporter of several Republican presidential candidates. “This was an historic dinner to mark Reagan’s centenary and to celebrate him as the man who ended the Cold War. What could not be more important?
“Why is our ambassador not here on Independence Day? No excuse. How is it that America is not represented in this room by our ambassador? It is appalling that no representative of our government is in this room. This has the feel of petty partisanship.”
Ambassador Susman is, of course, a long-standing Democrat fundraiser, nicknamed the vaccuum cleaner for his skill at sucking donations out of the wealthy. And his efforts to fill Obama’s campaign pockets was said by many to be his main qualification to come to London.
According to the US embassy spokesman: “Ambassador Susman was pleased to be invited to the dinner but was unable to attend.”
He had however been at the unveiling of a statue of Reagan in Grosvenor Square earlier in the day, and hosted a generous breakfast for the entire VIP visiting party and the military band. So he cannot be accused of snubbing the Reagan centenary.
But he missed some cracking speeches and anecdotes. For more details see the Standard story here.
And where was he? The embassy won’t say.