Boris Johnson would face a difficult time if Joe Biden wins the White House in November, as senior Democrats apparently see the UK Prime Minister as a Trump-style populist and “toxic” person over a self-imposed saga with Brexit, sources familiar with Biden's foreign policy directions told the Sunday Times.
“There’s definitely a real Boris problem, he’s toxic to some of these people,” one source explained. “They frame him through his relationship with Trump. They just think he’s Britain’s Trump.”
One of Biden’s foreign policy advisers added that if Britain eventually fails to secure a deal with the EU after months of a skirmish over the Ireland issue and trade disagreements, this would significantly jeopardise the relations between the two countries with the Democrat president in the office.
“Getting Brexit done without more mess would be hugely beneficial. Otherwise this will keep flaring up,” the anonymous official said.
However, “if the UK is able to reach an agreement with the EU that would put them on the front foot of establishing a very good relationship with a Biden administration,” according to Democrat adviser on Europe and researcher Max Bergmann.
“A Johnson Government needs to rebuild its credibility with the US, which has been shaken by Brexit and the machinations over the past four years,” he told the Sunday Times.
Despite the Brexit referendum in summer 2016 and Britain’s official departure from the bloc this January, Brussels and London have still not been able to reach a final agreement on conditions behind the UK’s departure. One of the stumbling blocks was a question over Northern Ireland’s economic status within the country that would not risk the Good Friday agreement backed by the US.
Could Johnson Use His Spell on Biden?
Johnson, who assumed his post as Prime Minister last year while Trump was already in office, has previously launched highly personal attacks on former Democrat president Barack Obama, for whom Biden worked as vice-president, over his apparent intervention in the Brexit debate and alleged dislike for Britain. Though mayor of London at the time, Johnson said back in 2016 that Obama’s decision to remove Winston Churchill’s statue from the Oval office was “a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.” Later Johnson argued that he had no regrets over his comments.
To some experts this exchange of barbs in the past means that Johnson would now have to work hard to “charm” Obama’s former vice-president Biden if he becomes the new occupant of the Oval Office. According to Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Johnson is “an extrovert, a nice fella”, who could successfully employ his charisma to win Biden’s heart.
“He will want to get along with Joe Biden, so I’d be surprised if it didn’t develop warmly. Blair pivoted from Clinton to Bush, I don’t see why Boris couldn’t do the same.”
However, it has recently been suggested that Johnson himself is not that interested in staying in his present job for long, as he apparently does not consider the position sufficiently lucrative.
According to recent polls, Biden has been leading Trump among likely voters, including in such key swing states as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. However, back in 2016, national polls had also predicted victory for Trump’s Democrat rival Hillary Clinton – something which with 20:20 hindsight we can now see were very wide of the mark.