The two candidates vying to become Britain’s next prime minister both condemned on Monday US President Donald Trump’s xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen as “totally offensive” and “totally unacceptable”.
But front-runner Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to call the tweets racist when pressed to do so during their last debate before next week’s announcement of who will succeed Prime Minister Theresa May.
May’s spokesman had earlier said that the outgoing leader’s view was that Trump’s comments were “completely unacceptable”.
On Monday Trump doubled down on a series of his tweets from the day before urging the four congresswomen of colour to “go back” to the countries they came from.
“If you’re not happy here, you can leave,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Johnson said the original tweets expressed sentiments “that went out decades and decades ago”.
“I think the relations between the UK and US are incredibly important,” said Johnson.
“But if you are the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural society, you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back where they came from,” Johnson said.
“It’s totally unacceptable and I agree with the prime minister.”
Trump has developed good relations with Johnson and backs both his leadership bid and determination to take Britain out of EU.
Pressed by the moderator to call Trump’s tweets racist, Johnson said: “I’ve said what I said.”
Hunt recalled that he had three half-ethnically Chinese children who are British citizens.
“If anyone said to them, go back to China, I would be utterly appalled,” Hunt said.
“It is totally un-British to say that.”
Pressed to call the comments racist, Hunt signalled that he would have were he not Britain’s chief diplomat.
“Look, I am foreign secretary, this is the president of a country which happens to be our closest ally and so it is not gonna help the situation to use that kind of language about the president of the United States,” Hunt said.
“I can understand how many people of this country would want me to use those words, and would feel that sentiment,” he added.
“But I hope I have made absolutely clear how totally offensive it is to me that people are still saying that kind of thing.”
Some 160,000 paying members of the ruling Conservative Party are currently picking the country’s new leader.
The winner of the mail-in ballot will be announced on July 23. The new prime minister formally assumes office the following day.
‘They sense weakness’: Former senator says the world is ‘smirking’ as Trump flails away at latest China tariffs
Former Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) appeared on CNN Friday to discuss how President Donald Trump has completely mishandled his long-running trade war with China.
While talking about trade with CNN's Jim Sciutto, Baucus said that China timed its new announcements of tariffs against $75 billion worth of American goods specifically to humiliate the president.
"They sense weakness," explained Baucus, who has also previously served as an American ambassador to China. "And I think that they see a weakness in the United States today. Trump has been weakened because of the weakened American economy and they're retaliating against the tariffs that Trump imposed after there was a truce there would be no tariffs."
‘Alarming gibberish’: Trump mocked for raging impotently against Fed chair and China
President Donald Trump attacked his own Federal Reserve chairman as an "enemy" of the United States amid his escalating trade war with China -- and other social media users were flabbergasted.
Fed chairman Jerome Powell refused to budge on interest rates, despite heavy pressure by the president in the face of a looming recession, and China retaliated against the tariffs Trump imposed with a new round of their own.
Trump lashed out at Powell, whose name he misspelled, and compared him unfavorably to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
A look inside the Koch brothers’ secret plan to manipulate politicians — and how it fueled the rise of the radical right
Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend about $1 billion getting their 2016 nominee elected. There’s a third group that will spend almost as much. It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have any candidates. It’s the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016. The Kochs’ 2016 plans come as part of an effort to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades. The story of the Koch brothers and an allied group of billionaire donors is told in a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Mayer traces how the Kochs and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system in the mold of their right-wing agenda.