Donald Trump has provoked spirited debate by describing Boris Johnson as the British Trump — or “Britain Trump”, as the US President put it.
Perhaps he meant “Britain’s Trump”.
Trump’s comparison came on Tuesday evening after Boris had beaten foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership contest, making him Britain’s next Prime Minister.
“We have a really good man,” Trump told the crowd at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit in Washington. “He’s going to be the Prime Minister of the UK now, Boris Johnson,” he said.
“Good man,” the president continued. “He’s tough and he’s smart. They’re saying ‘Britain Trump.’ They call him ‘Britain Trump,’ and there’s people saying that’s a good thing.”
It is not clear how the President has reached this conclusion but he also claimed: “They like me over there. That’s what they wanted. That’s what they need. That’s what they need. He’ll get it done. Boris is good. He’s going to do a good job.” The President also has a soft spot for Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, who happened to be in the crowd. “I think Nigel is someplace in this audience,” Trump told the young activists on Tuesday.
The President, who does not shy away from offering his opinion on British domestic issues, went on: “He’s going to work well with Boris. They’re going to do tremendous things.” Boris has so far ruled out giving Farage a job although there are those who think the Tories may have to enter into a pact with the Brexit party at the next election, especially if Britain has not left the EU by then.
Trump’s suggestion that Boris is the British Trump brought a withering response from Jo Swinson, the newly elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, who said: “I mean, Boris Johnson is basically what you’d get if you sent Donald Trump to Eton.”
Boris has not always said nice things about Trump.
HeBoris blasted Trump in December 2015 after the American implied that areas of London were dangerous because of radicalisation while Boris was mayor of the city.
Boris had then admitted: “The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” Boris was apparently mistaken for Trump on the streets of New York.
“I am genuinely worried that he could become President,” said Boris. “I was in New York and some photographers were trying to take a picture of me and a girl walked down the pavement towards me and she stopped and she said, ‘Gee is that Trump?’ It was one of the worst moments.” That was then. This is now. The comparison has been trending on social media, however.
There was a typical comment from one critic: “Both are loudmouthed man-children, with a history of adultery and other scandals, whose professional success is a combination of immense privilege, unscrupulous opportunism, and relentless self-promotion, all happily promoted by a complicit media environment.
“They share an ‘unorthodox’ approach to politics as well as a ‘tell it like it is’ communication style — media euphemisms for reckless opportunism and a combination of homophobia, racism and sexism.”
“While Trump mainly lies about himself, from his richness to the size of his inauguration crowd, Johnson mostly lies about the European Union.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that Boris is planning to meet Trump three times before the October 31, the deadline the latter has set for Brexit.
“Mr Johnson has been admired by Mr Trump and his team since he was foreign secretary,” the paper pointed out. “He met Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and strategist Steve Bannon in 2017 before Mr Trump was sworn in, then had his first public meeting with Mr Trump at the United Nations in September of the same year.”
Boris also has the task of appointing a successor to Sir Kim Darroch, who was forced to resign as the British ambassador in Washington after his confidential messages about Trump were published by the Mail on Sunday.
According to Richard Wolffe, a columnist for the Guardian, “Trump wants his British prime minister to help him get a better trade deal from the European Union that he just Brexited.
“Back in the real world, Trump wants something else from a trade deal with a newly global Britain. ‘Very even trade’ with Johnson means better access for US farmers to British supermarkets, and better prices for American drugs bought by the socialist NHS.”