Boris Johnson Tries To Woo Joe Biden Amid Democrat Backlash Over Obama Comments

Arj Singh
·Deputy Political Editor, HuffPost UK
·3-min read

Boris Johnson has attempted to woo Joe Biden after a key ally of the US president-elect criticised the prime minister’s past comments about Barack Obama.

Johnson insisted there is “far more that unites than divides” him and Biden, despite suggestions that the Democrat’s team do not see the PM as a friend.

Biden’s ally Chris Coons, who is tipped as the potential next US secretary of state, suggested on Sunday that Johnson may have to “reconsider” his controversial past allegations about Obama’s “part-Kenyan” ancestry making him hostile to Britain.

It came after Tommy Vietor, Obama’s former national security spokesperson, described Johnson as a “shapeshifting creep” and said senior Democrats would “never forget your racist comments” about the former US leader, who Biden served with as vice president.

The Sunday Times meanwhile reported hostility towards Johnson in the Democratic ranks.

Johnson was also responding to Biden calling him a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump and the president-elect’s opposition to Brexit.

Speaking to broadcasters, Johnson said: “I think there is far more that unites the government of this country and governments in Washington at any time and any stage than divides us.

“We have common values, we have common interests, we have common global perspective.

“There is a huge amount of work we need to do together to protect those values – a belief in democracy, in free speech around the world, in human rights, in free trade, in the rules-based international order – all these things are currently under threat.

“You have the United States and Britain standing together as they have done in many times in the past to protect those values, so there is far more, I think, that unites us than divides us.”

But the PM insisted that he would push ahead with his law-breaking internal market bill, despite Biden’s concerns that it risks undermining peace in Northern Ireland.

“The parliamentary timetable goes ahead and the whole point of that Bill and indeed the Finance Bill is to protect and uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland,” Johnson said.

“That is one of the things that we’re united on with our friends in the White House.”

Johnson meanwhile acknowledged that talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the US may be difficult with Biden in the White House.

“I am a keen student of the United States trade policy and they’re tough negotiators, and I’ve never believed this was going to be something that was going to be a complete pushover under any US administration,” he said.

“I think there is a good chance we’ll do something – (trade secretary) Liz Truss and her team’s made a huge amount of progress – and we’ll get on.”

The PM also suggested he would be looking to see Biden provide leadership on climate change, including with a pledge towards net zero carbon emissions.

“Already you’ve got country after country lining up to support the ambition of net zero by 2050,” he said.

“So Japan came through, Korea came through, even China has come through with a plan to do it by 2060, which is absolutely fantastic for the world.

“I think now with president Biden in the White House in Washington we have the real prospect of American global leadership in tackling climate change.

“The UK, as you know, was the first major country to set out that objective of net zero by 2050, we led the way a few years ago, and we’re really hopeful now that president Biden will follow and will help us to deliver a really good outcome at the COP26 summit next year in Glasgow.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.