Boris Johnson won’t rule out running for President of the United States.
And, strangely enough, he might be eligible to do so, having been born in New York. One sticking point he would face is that he officially renounced his US citizenship in 2016, for the most American of reasons: he was having a tax dispute with the IRS and revolted.
Yep: he metaphorically dumped some tea into Boston Harbor, keeping himself out of the clutches of the infamous tax man. For that alone, I think he deserves a shot at the Republican nomination in 2028.
As far as I know, there is no legal reason he couldn’t reapply for citizenship, although he probably would face some nasty tax bills and fines as he refused to pay taxes owed to the IRS. Chances are he wouldn’t resort to the same means that the colonists did when they had a dispute over taxes. That would not be a great look for a presidential candidate, especially since Joe Biden is always talking about sending F-16s to deal with people who question the legitimacy of the federal government’s actions.
Johnson has the flavor of being a more sophisticated Donald Trump. He has a flair for the dramatic, a razor-sharp wit, and the debating skills of an Oxford man who fought his way to the top of British politics. No American politician could defeat him in a debate, at least not on points or entertainment ability.
Johnson’s actual political ideology doesn’t fit into either political party. A Tory, he more closely resembles a Republican than a Democrat, but he is nothing like an American conservative. While a climate skeptic earlier in his career, he became an evangelist during his time as PM, for instance.
But who knows? He is probably flexible.
One of Steerpike’s Spectator colleagues in America caught up with the ex-PM at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC. When asked if he wanted to move from 10 Downing Street to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Johnson told the Cockburn gossip column: ‘I don’t rule it out.’
Johnson, who is visiting the US to push for additional aid to Ukraine, did not specify whether he would run as a Republican or Democrat. He did bump into Cockburn at a famous Republican haunt, but the cause he’s championing is one supported by members of both parties.
Before leaving Downing Street last September, Johnson was a staunch supporter of Ukraine. He visited Kyiv in the opening months of the war, and Britain provided about £2 billion of aid under his leadership. Ukrainians, in their gratitude, have named everything from cakes to streets after him. He has even been awarded Ukraine’s Order of Liberty – the highest honour the country provides to foreigners.
Johnson would probably be the most entertaining president the United States ever had, and we could sure use some comic relief in the office after the beating our body politic has taken in recent years.
Johnson took a beating during his time as Prime Minister, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was COVID. Given how badly every politician did during COVID, that is unsurprising. I am pretty sure his violation of COVID rules at #10 wouldn’t hurt him too badly here.
Personally, I would love to see Johnson run for the presidency in 2028 or 2032. It would be fun to watch, and few Americans could liven up our politics by making them fun again.
It’s impossible to say whether he would be a good president or not, but compared to Biden he would be a Godsend.