Sunday UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrived in the US for what his office said was a series of meetings with President-elect Donald Trump’s closest advisers and congressional leaders. Johnson, a former mayor of London, became the principle diplomat for one of the US’ strongest partners following the narrow success of 2016’s referendum to leave the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit. Johnson was among the referendum’s highest profile supporters.
Trump billed himself on Twitter as “Mr. Brexit” and likened his unlikely victory to the shocking success of the “yes” vote in the UK referendum.
“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,” a spokesman for Johnson’s office said. “The discussions will be focused on UK-US relations and other foreign policy matters.”
Johnson, a member of the UK’s Conservative Party, may find Trump’s team more in line with his views and style than that of President Barack Obama. The foreign secretary’s statements about the current administration made for at least one awkward public encounter when he held a joint press conference with his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry. Although Johnson has knocked Trump in the past, he has also defended him from criticism in Europe.
After his victory in the presidential election, Trump took the unorthodox step of suggesting the pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage be named the UK’s envoy to the US. UK Prime Minister Theresa May declined to extend the position to Farage. Trump confirmed earlier this weekend that May, who ascended to the country’s highest democratic office following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the Brexit vote, would visit him in the coming months.
“I look very much forward to meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington in the Spring. Britain, a longtime U.S. ally, is very special!” Trump tweeted.