Opponents of Boris Johnson are planning on hanging Donald Trump's extreme lack of popularity in the United Kingdom around the neck of the prime minister when the president visits for NATO meetings this week in the hopes that it will damage Johnson's chances of being re-elected on December 12.
According to a report at the Washington Post, "There’s little surprise that the American president is playing an outsize role in Britain’s upcoming elections — for good or bad, depending," with Trump, all too often, offering opinions on the internal affairs of one of the most loyal of U.S. allies.
As the Post notes, "The president is due in London on Tuesday and Wednesday for a NATO summit — complete with a reception at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election team is bracing for what comes. [Labour Party head Jeremy] Corbyn’s team hopes to pounce. At his rallies, Corbyn asserts that Trump has formed a dark alliance with Johnson — intended, among other claims, to procure the sale of Britain’s beloved National Health Service to U.S. pharmaceutical companies."
Corbyn's political calculation has a great deal of support.
According to Jonathan Tonge, a professor of politics at the University of Liverpool, "The 'shadow of Trump looms large' in the election."
“It’s a solid card to play,” Patrick Dunleavy, a political science professor at the London School of Economics stated, adding, "Of course Labour would love to run against Boris as Trump.”
According to an MSNBC panel on Sunday morning, Johnson is not the only one who doesn't want to be closely linked to Trump.
“When the president tries to flex his political muscles with all the other leaders there, we are seeing our allies move away from him,” MSNBC contributor Christina Greer suggested “We’ve seen [Angekla] Merkel, she is at her wit’s end with this particular president. He doesn’t really have friends, confidantes, people to have side conversations because they see the damage he has already done.”
According to Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, Corbyn supporters are using the threat of a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. that could impact the highly popular NHS as a cudgel to batter Johnson.
“Labour is saying that one of the most beloved institutions is being threatened by the most hated figure on the public stage at the moment,” Fielding said. “It’s very clever.”