Boris Johnson takes swipe at Donald Trump as he praises Joe Biden ahead of G7

9 June 2021, 19:38

Boris Johnson has praised Joe Biden's differences from Mr Trump
Boris Johnson has praised Joe Biden's differences from Mr Trump. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has taken a swipe at Donald Trump after claiming Joe Biden sees the value of the UK and other Western allies.

The Prime Minister said that was "different from the previous four years" – a reference to the previous presidency, though he did not mention the former leader by name.

It marks a departure from his more measured remarks about Mr Trump, as he sought to cultivate a relationship with the businessman during his time in office.

That attempt even led Mr Biden – who will meet Mr Johnson in person on Thursday – to describe Mr Johnson as a "physical and emotional clone" of Donald Trump.

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Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, ahead of the current president’s arrival, the PM said: "I've had some great conversations with Joe Biden but they've been on the phone, and what Joe and I have said several times together, there is a massive amount of agreement between the US and the UK right now.

"He's a big Atlanticist – Joe is a massive supporter of Nato, he's a believer in a strong united Western alliance, he sees the importance of the UK and other allies in that architecture.

"To be frank - that's different from the previous four years if you remember."

Mr Trump was frequently critical of Nato, insisting its allies needed to pay more for their defence.

It created tension and nervousness throughout the alliance, which has been the cornerstone of security for Western European nations since the early years of the Cold War.

Mr Trump's time in office generated stories that he could order the US to leave Nato, and caused concern over his attempts to build ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose forces have been destabilising Ukraine and worrying the Baltic states.

Continuing the contrast, Mr Johnson said of Mr Biden: "He's a believer in the rules-based international system, which both our countries help to set up at the end of the Second World War, he supports that massively, so do I.

"That's a bit of a change and it's great to have that in the White House right now."

He also acknowledged both leaders have used the "build back better" slogan to describe their plans to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

If Mr Trump hoped to respond to Mr Johnson, he has fewer channels to do so, with Facebook recently confirming a two-year ban for the 45th president.