Joe Biden’s allies ‘still offended by Boris Johnson’ as UK and US poised for row

Brexit: ‘No pressure’ for Biden to strike trade deal says expert

Mr Johnson has tried to win over the incoming US President, Mr Biden, after the Democrat’s election win over Donald Trump in November. An aide to Mr Biden said last month that Mr Johnson was “very smart” to call the President-elect early after his victory. Former Senator Ted Kaufman said: “Boris Johnson called him up early to congratulate him, when other world leaders were concerned that Trump wasn’t out for sure, and I think that was a very smart move on Boris Johnson’s part.

“I think England, the UK, is a country that he really cares about. He thinks it’s really important. And he’s going to want to establish close ties with England — you can honestly go to the bank on that, that’s what he’s gonna do.”

Despite this, other reports have warned of remaining hostility from Washington that could impact the hopes of a UK-US trade deal.

Politico reported last month that while publicly relations seem cordial, privately Democrats “continue to take offence” of the Prime Minister’s “inflammatory rhetoric”.

This includes a dispute from 2016, when Mr Biden was Barack Obama’s Vice President.

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Mr Obama was met with controversial comments by Mr Johnson, who was London Mayor at the time.

He accused Mr Obama of having an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”, referring to his “part-Kenyan” ancestry.

The comments were branded “idiotic” and “deeply offensive” by Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

In October, Sir Kim Darroch, the former UK ambassador to the US, warned that there may be ill-feeling between Mr Biden and Prime Minister Johnson as a result of this exchange.

He said: “I hesitate to say this, but there will be some Obama people in a Biden administration and they remember some of the things that the current Prime Minister said about Obama, whether as a newspaper columnist or whether it was Mayor of London.

“I promise you there is still some resentment and unhappiness over that. I’m not sure there will be, you know, quite the warm, welcoming embrace from Mr Biden as it would from Mr Trump.”

While many are warning of potential London-Washington tension, others believe that Mr Biden and Mr Johnson will overcome their differences.

One source close to the President-elect said: “You have perfect couples in the mold of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, or Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and then there’s pairings where the personalities don’t mesh but they make it work.”

A former American ambassador also argued in an interview with Politico that the previous tension “will be water under the bridge, frankly, because the US wants the UK to thrive”.

In the context of a UK-US trade deal, Oxford University’s Dr Nigel Bowles warned that the Prime Minister will have to make “painful trade-offs” to secure the trading agreement.

He added that the UK’s efforts to change the withdrawal agreement terms on the Irish border last year could be a major problem.

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The US Politics expert told “A trade deal can be done, but any British Prime Minister who calculated that either an American President would fold on the Good Friday Agreement, or fold on the EU agreement on the border, should think again.

“If Trump is President in January next year, Nancy Pelosi will still be speaker of the House of Representatives, and I do not believe a trade deal could pass through here as things stand.

“If Boris Johnson wants a trade deal with the US, the agreement he forged with the EU in late 2019 will have to be observed.”

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