Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson reportedly snubbed a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, despite the American leader’s warm words about his potential as a possible prime minister.
Mr Johnson, former two-time Mayor of London and Theresa May’s Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary until he resigned over her Chequers plan for the Brexit negotiations, has often been called a “British Trump” for his bombastic persona and sometimes politically incorrect public pronouncements — but ‘Amnesty Boris’ shares little in with the American leader in terms of policy, being in favour of regularising possibly millions of illegal migrants and appeasing Iran, for example.
The Tory MP was also highly disparaging about Mr Trump when he was just one of several candidates for Republican presidential candidate in late 2015, criticising the American as “out of his mind” over his call for a ban on Islamic immigration in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernadino, California.
He also denied Mr Trump’s suggesting that no go zones were emerging in multicultural neighbourhoods, accusing him of “stupefying ignorance that makes him, frankly, unfit to hold the office of President of the United States,” and adding that he would “invite him to come and see the whole of London and take him round the city except that I wouldn’t want to expose Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump.”
‘I Told Him No’: Trump Rejected Meeting with ‘Negative Force’ Corbyn https://t.co/1eqBz3BHrg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 4, 2019
Mr Johnson is a favourite among Tory members — although not Tory MPs, who will ultimately be the people who decide which two candidates for Tory leader and, in effect, prime minister, are put to the membership for a final vote — as former frontman for the Vote Leave campaign to take Britain out of the European Union in 2016 (despite his having almost swung behind the Remain campaign instead).
A meeting with the U.S. President could have bolstered his credentials with the membership ahead of the contest, and his decision to reject a face-to-face meeting with the “leader of the free world” — apparently in favour of an obscure hustings — and take a 20-minute phone call instead will raise eyebrows.
Possibly the move was calculated to impress colleagues in the Tory parliamentary party — who, unlike the President and a large majority of Tory members and voters, mostly voted against Brexit and are globalist-leaning in their politics — but in any event it is not the first time he has snubbed a leading Republican.
In 2012, then-Mayor Johnson jabbed dismissively at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — not exactly a conservative firebrand — as “a guy called Mitt Romney”.
.@BorisJohnson has had a 20 minute phone chat with @realDonaldTrump this morning but declined face-to-face meeting this evening because clashed with One Nation leadership hustings. See attached pic.twitter.com/3hk9yyY17w
— Robert Peston (@Peston) June 4, 2019
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, on the other hand, continues to work assiduously to build the British-American alliance as Brexit approaches and — to the likely consternation of the Tory government — met President Trump at his London residence for a private meeting on Tuesday evening.