Here are six rock-bottom, cringe-worthy ‘highlights’ from the new UK Foreign Secretary’s career
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson will have a place in England’s new conservative administration when he was named foreign secretary for new Prime Minister Theresa May, the BBC reported.
The new position for “BoJo,” as he has been called, represents a rebound in a public career marked with several gaffes — including a questionable string of remarks about Hillary Clinton.
1. BoJo on a wire
Johnson, who was first elected to lead London in 2008, attracted international attention while it hosted the 2012 Summer Olympic Games four years later, when he took to a zip line to celebrate the host country’s first gold medal. Unfortunately, things got awkward, as seen below:
“Clearly the judges are likely to mark him down for artistic interpretation,” a spokesperson told The Guardian.
2. Johnson bowls over a 10-year-old
Metro News was quick to remind Twitter followers of Johnson’s past behavior in other countries when it posted this clip from just last year:
Here is our new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, on a previous visit to Japan. pic.twitter.com/N7C28wDEn1
— Metro (@MetroUK) July 13, 2016
Johnson was playing an “informal game of street rugby” while taking part in a trade meeting in Japan when he rushed headlong into 10-year-old Toki Sekiguchi. While Johnson quickly apologized, young Toki seemed to take the incident in stride.
“I felt a little bit of pain but it’s OK,” he said.
3. Johnson on Clinton: “A sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”
Johnson has been compared at times to US Republican Donald Trump, and last February he had to backtrack for harping on Clinton’s appearance — as Trump has done regarding other women — when she ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2008.
As the Telegraph reported, Johnson said in a 2007 column that the former US secretary of state had “dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”
To express approval of Hillary Clinton is to invite fury from my friends in the American Republican party.
To ask the reader to support Hillary means asking you to forget all those worrying allegations that Ambrose Evans-Pritchard used to report so brilliantly in these pages: the funny goings-on with the White House travel office, the anomalies in the position of poor Vince Foster’s gun, the curious business of the drug-runners at the Rena airfield and the Whitewater real estate imbroglio.
How could I possibly emit the merest peep of support for a woman who seems to have acted out the role of First Lady, from 1993 to 2000, like a mixture between Cherie Blair and Lady Macbeth, stamping her heel, bawling out subordinates and frisbeeing ashtrays at her erring husband?
Worse yet, the comments resurfaced a day before Johnson was set to meet with Clinton — but Johnson was quick to brush them off.
“I’m delighted to be able to meet Senator Clinton,” he said. “I’m sure that whatever I’ve said in the past will be taken by the Senator who is a very distinguished politician in the light hearted spirit in which it was intended.”
4. Accusations of sexism
Johnson’s harsh words regarding Clinton would not be his last questionable moments involving women. During his re-election campaign in 2012, the mayor was hit with accusations that he displayed a “disrespectful, patronising way at meetings” toward women — but not toward men.
“He tends to treat men with a much more jokey matey attitude, whereas he tends to put us down and say things like ‘I think you’ve added up your figures wrongly,'” said Green Party candidate Jenny Jones, who compiled a tally of exchanges she said proved her point.
The following year, Johnson came under fire again when he interrupted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as he explained that the country had seen a 68 percent surge in female college enrollment.
The new students, Johnson said, “have got to find men to marry.”
5. Johnson vs Letterman
In June 2012, the mayor made a rare appearance on US television when he appeared on David Letterman’s Late Show, where Johnson was quickly hit with a quip by the host.
“I’m a fervent admirer of yours,” Johnson said.
“I find that hard to believe,” Letterman countered.
Perhaps most damagingly, Letterman zeroed in on Johnson’s famously unkempt hair and asked, “How long have you been cutting your own hair?”
“That’s a low blow,” Johnson conceded. “I was beginning to think I had got through this pretty unscathed. You even mentioned the book more than a few times.”
Watch the interview, as posted online, below.
6. “You don’t have the guts to sort it out”
More recently, Johnson became one of the public faces of the “Brexit” campaign, pushing voters to support the non-binding referendum calling for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Johnson went so far as to say in March that then-Prime Minister David Cameron “doesn’t have the guts” to carry out the country’s exit if voters approved the move.
So it was perhaps fitting that Johnson was hit with the same charge after he announced that he would not seek to succeed Cameron when the “Leave” vote won.
“Absolute disgrace,” a heckler told Johnson outside his home. “You don’t have the guts to sort it out.”
“Rubbish,” Johnson replied while trying to walk away.
“You abandoned a sinking ship,” the heckler said. “Hopeless! Unleashed ignorance, inequality. Shocking behavior.”
The encounter, as posted online, can be seen below.