The new British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has an embarrassingly long history of insulting politicians, especially the ones in the United States.
Obviously, the former London mayor’s controversial past is likely to haunt him, at least during the early days of his brand new role — and maybe even for good.
And so it happened that during his first London press conference as foreign secretary with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Johnson was grilled by American journalists to weigh in on his past “outright lies” and insults about world leaders, including the time when he referred to U.S. President Barack Obama as part-Kenyan.
Johnson faced the accusations. Instead, it was Kerry who found it difficult to keep a straight face during the supremely awkward moment.
Here’s a preview:
John Kerry reacted to a journalist accusing Boris Johnson of telling "outright lies" 4 different ways in 1 second. pic.twitter.com/u8FMNcfVYd— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) July 19, 2016
Johnson: Such a rich thesaurus of things I've said… take me too long to engage in a full global itinerary of apology https://t.co/oWLFQVSJfH— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 19, 2016
“You’ve accused the the current U.S. president Barack Obama of harboring a part-Kenyan’s, quote, ‘ancestral dislike for the British Empire,’ unquote, while claiming, I think untruthfully at the time, that he didn’t want a Churchill bust in the White House,” Associated Press reporter Brad Klapper reminded Johnson. “You‘ve described possible future U.S. president Hillary Clinton as someone with, quote, ‘dyed blond hair and pouty lips and a steely blue stare, like the sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,’ unquote. You’ve also likened her to Lady MacBeth. Do you take these comments back? Or do you want to take them with you into your new job as some sort of indicator of the type of diplomacy you will practice?”
Despite the fact Klapper quoted Johnson verbatim, the foreign secretary responded by saying his remarks had somehow been “misconstrued.” He simply refused to apologize for the "rich thesaurus" of rude comments he previously directed at world leaders and kind of asked people to move on.
“You have an unusually long history of wild exaggerations and frankly outright lies that I think few foreign secretaries have prior to this job,” pointed out another reporter from The New York Times. “I’m just wondering how Mr. Kerry and others should believe what you say considering this very, very long history.”
Meanwhile, Kerry tried his best to not break out in a laugh:
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Enrique Marcarian