Johnson and Hunt join May in condemning Trump’s ‘completely unacceptable’ tweets
Firmest British response since US president took office
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have joined Theresa May in condemning Donald Trump for calling on several Democratic congresswomen of colour to “go home”.
The two candidates vying to be prime minister were asked about the US president’s remarks in a Sun and TalkRadio leadership debate last night.
Johnson, the favourite for the role, said: “Relations between the UK and US are incredibly important. But if you are the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural country you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back to where they came from. It went out decades and decades ago and thank heavens for that. It’s totally unacceptable.”
Hunt agreed saying: “I have three half-Chinese children and if anyone ever said to them, ‘Go back to China’ I would be utterly appalled. It is totally un-British to do that. So I hope that would never happen in this country.”
Earlier in the day, the outgoing prime minister’s official spokesman had said that May’s view “is that the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable.”
The Guardian points out that in their statements, all three had “stopped short of branding [Trump] racist.”
The Express asks whether the condemnation from all three means the “special relationship is over”.
According to The Independent, May’s statement was her “strongest criticism of the Republican to date,” following milder censures for his comments in the wake of the Charlottesville protests, and for retweeting far-right group British First.
Johnson's remarks were welcomed by critics of the US president after the former foreign secretary failed last week to defend Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to Washington who resigned after his critical remarks about Trump were leaked.
Yesterday, the Tory leadership hopeful’s team briefed that one of his first acts as prime minister would be to go to Washington to try to agree an outline free-trade deal with Trump.
One Johnson’s supporters, Nadhim Zahawi MP, said of Trump’s tweets: “It is not language I would use. I am condemning it”.
However, he added: “It is domestic US policy. Ultimately, if we do this [interject], we will give Donald Trump the right to intervene in our politics any time he wants. That is not where we want to be. This is our greatest ally.”
Trump has remained unrepentant and unbowed since his remarks – generally believe to be aimed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – were widely condemned as racist.
In a fresh tweet on Monday, he wrote: “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologise to our country, the people of Israel and even to the office of the president, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”