Between Boris Johnson and the White House, a very special relationship

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Biarritz on August 25, 2019.

“Panic at 10 Downing Street, which is quick to cut ties with Trump and woo Biden. ” This is what the headline titled Sunday Times of October 11, explaining that in the Foreign Office and in the entourage of Boris Johnson, we had just agreed to the hypothesis, now probable, of an election of Democrat Joe Biden to the White House. And that we were worried about it.

It is true that in Donald Trump the British Prime Minister found an explosive supporter of Brexit and a “Friend”, quick to celebrate its merits and their supposed resemblance. “I think Boris would do a very good job, I think he would be excellent”, said the American president in an interview with Sun in June 2019, about the former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, then favorite to replace Prime Minister Theresa May. Johnson “Is a fantastic man […] exactly the right guy right now ”, he insisted in November 2019, as the general election campaign began in the United Kingdom.

“On instinct”

This support seemed to embarrass Boris Johnson more often than anything else. For example when the US President congratulated Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party – notorious opponent of the Conservatives, and called the two men “To work together” to Brexit. And there was this astonishing streak during the NATO summit in London in December 2019, during which the British Prime Minister seemed to want to flee Donald Trump and side with the Europeans – including to make fun of him, in video footage where he is seen joking with Canadian Justin Trudeau, Frenchman Emmanuel Macron and Dutchman Mark Rutte.

Read also At the G7 summit in Biarritz, Donald Trump dubbed Boris Johnson

It must be said that Donald Trump has never been popular in British opinion. And that the tangible fallout from his “friendship” for Mr Johnson has hardly gone beyond words. “If Trump loves Johnson, it is mainly because he saw in him a parallel which flattered his own political style. But the American president has a very weak understanding of British politics, of Brexit, of the Conservative Party ”, says Tim Oliver, professor of diplomacy at Loughborough University in London. “Johnson and the UK, like all other governments, have had a hard time dealing with an administration lacking in strategy because of a president working mostly on instinct,” adds the academic.

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