POLITICS

Boris Johnson To Meet Donald Trump's Team In New York In First UK Government Face-To-Face

Foreign Secretary branded President-elect 'unfit' for office when London mayor.

08/01/2017 21:11 | Updated 12 January 2017

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has flown to New York to meet with Donald Trump’s top advisers having previously branding the President-elect “unfit” to lead America.

The Foreign Office tonight confirmed the first face-to-face meeting between a UK minister and Trump team would take place tonight.

Nigel Farage was the first British politician to meet the incoming President following the election, but the ex-Ukip leader is not even a Member of Parliament much less a representative of the Government.

Johnson, who when he was London Mayor criticised Trump’s disparaging comments about Muslims, is expected to meet Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, his election mastermind and soon-to-be White House chief strategist.

On Monday, the Foreign Secretary, one of the main cheerleaders for Brexit, will head to Washington to meet influential Republicans, which is likely to include Congressional leaders such as Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Bob Corker and Senator Mitch McConnell. 

A Foreign Office spokesman said:

“Following the successful meeting last month between the Prime Minister’s Chiefs of Staff and President-elect Donald Trump’s team, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is undertaking a short visit to the US for meetings with close advisers to the President-elect and senior Congressional leaders.

“The discussions will be focused on UK-US relations and other foreign policy matters.”

Ben Birchall/PA Archive
A graffiti mural of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson kissing, sprayed on a disused building in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol last year.

As Mayor of the capital, Johnson took one of the most outspoken positions among UK politicians over Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, and also the then Republican presidential candidate’s claim radicalism was so rife that London boasted “no-go areas”.

On the ban, Johnson said: “I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind if he thinks that’s a sensible way to proceed, to ban people going to the United States in that way, or to any country.”

On the “no go areas” claim, he added: “I think he’s betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States.

“I would invite him to come and see the whole of London and take him round the city – except I wouldn’t want to expose any Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump.”

But following Trump’s historic win, and having moved to the Foreign Office after the Brexit vote triumph, Johnson changed his tune:

Earlier today, British Prime Minister Theresa May branded Trump’s claim you can grab women “by the pussy” as “unacceptable” - but insisted the UK’s “special relationship” with the US will grow when he takes over the presidency.

During an interview with Sky New’s Sophy Ridge, May was asked directly about the comments, with Ridge saying she felt “slightly awkward reading this out”.

May replied: “I think that’s unacceptable, and in fact Donald Trump himself said that and has apologised.”

The President-elect took to Twitter this morning to say he was looking forward to meeting May, and described Britain as “very special”. 

Farage has a long-standing relationship with Bannon, and the connection to Trump stems from Bannon inviting the Brexit-eer to a political rally in Mississippi in August, an event where Trump compared his rise to the Brexit win and appears to have been charmed by the Brit.

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