Boris Johnson, who was picked as Britain’s foreign minister in the new Tory government headed by Prime Minister Theresa May, has been likened in the past to Donald Trump, with whom he shares a blond coif and quotable statements. A former mayor of London, who went on to become a leader of the movement that led to the referendum that calls for the country’s exit from the European Union, Johnson has not been known for the silken words of a diplomat.
In May, for instance, Johnson won a poetry contest offered by The Spectator. Johnson won with a limerick that derided Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as having sodomized a goat. He thus doubled down on his previous statements opposing Turkey’s accession to the European Union. When the BBC asked Turkish Foreign Minister Bilal Yildrim for comment, the Turkish diplomat replied: "May God help him and reform him, and I hope he won't make any more mistakes and tries to make it up with the Turks."
He has piqued the sensibilities of other political opponents, ethnic groups and racial categories. For example, he has had to apologize for referring to Africans as “piccaninnies” who have “watermelon smiles.” He has also suggested that Africa would be better off under colonial rule, as it was before. He has praised Syrian President Bashr al-Assad for fighting Islamic State terrorists, despite the dictator’s own atrocities committed against his own countrymen. He also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s "ruthless clarity" in supporting Assad. He once offered his plan for giving Islamist Iran a nuclear weapon.
One British commentator suggested that under Johnson, diplomatic relations with the United States might seque from the current special relationship to a “special-needs relationship,” given his penchant for criticizing American politicians. For example, in a 2007 Daily Telegraph column, he wrote about Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign: "She's got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital." He also called on Americans to vote for her in order have Bill Clinton back in the White House. “If Bill can deal with Hillary, he can surely deal with any global crisis," Johnson wrote.
Johnson was also critical of President Barack Obama, who suggested that should Britain leave the EU it might “go to the back of line” in future trade deals. In his column, Johnson angrily denounced Obama’s perceived contempt for Winston Churchill. Johnson said that the "part-Kenyan president" has an "ancestral dislike of the British empire — of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender."
Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, who is a fellow Tory who serves in parliament, said of Johnson, "Time and time again, his judgment is awry, and he shows in this article a remarkable disregard for the facts, the truth and for all judgment." In speaking to LBC radio, Soames said of Johnson, "I don’t think Boris has the stature to be leader."
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