14/02/2021 17:51 GMT | Updated 15/02/2021 06:55 GMT

Boris Johnson Calls Trump Impeachment Over Capitol Hill Riots 'A Kerfuffle'

PM says US democracy "strong" despite what he calls "toings and froings" in wake of presidential election.

Boris Johnson has suggested Donald Trump’s impeachment trial over the Capitol Hill riots was a “kerfuffle”. 

Speaking to US broadcaster CBS on Sunday, the prime minister said American democracy was “strong”, but appeared to play down the historic fallout from the presidential elections, which he simply referred to as “toings and froings”. 

Five people were killed and more than 140 injured as a direct result of Trump’s supporters storming Congress on January 6. 

The violence had followed the president telling a rally of his supporters to “fight like hell” and he repeatedly made false and discredited claims of election fraud after Joe Biden’s win. 

On Saturday, the Senate voted to acquit the outgoing president of incitement to insurrection

Speaking to the channel’s Face The Nation show, Johnson avoided giving a strong response, however. 

“I think the clear message that we get from the proceedings in America is that, after all the toings and froings and all the kerfuffle, American democracy is strong,” he said.

“And the American constitution is strong and robust. And we’re delighted now, I’m very delighted, to have a good relationship with the White House, which is an important part of any UK prime minister’s mission. 

“I’ve had some good conversations already with president Biden, fantastic conversations about the way he sees things.”

President Joe Biden 

Johnson’s words jar with those of Biden, who said: “This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile.”

He said after Saturday’s vote: “While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute.”

Johnson, who has not yet met Biden, said his relationship with the new US president was “excellent” and he looked forward to working with him on environmental issues and defence. 

Britain will host the G7 summit in the summer and the COP26 climate change gathering, in Glasgow, in the autumn.

Biden is reported to have previously called Johnson the “physical and emotional clone of Donald Trump”. 

Asked if he feared he and Biden may “start off on the wrong foot”, Johnson sidestepped the question. 

He said: “I’ve had, I think, already two long and very good conversations with the president and we had a really good exchange, particularly about climate change and what he wants to do.” 

Johnson also said the UK was “delighted now, I’m very delighted, to have a good relationship with the White House, which is an important part of any UK prime minister’s mission.”

Trump called the impeachment trial a “witch hunt” and welcomed news of his acquittal on Saturday.