British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been forced to defend himself over previous comments about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as he shared a platform with the US secretary of state.
In apress conference at the Foreign Office, he was challenged by US journalists about “outright lies” he had told and articles he had written about the current president and his potential successor.
Johnson joked it would take “too long” to issue an apology for all the things he had written which had been “misconstrued”.
He said: “We can all spend an awfully long time going over lots of stuff I have written over the last 30 years... all of which, in my view, has been taken out of context, but never mind — but there are some serious issues before us today.”
He was asked about his reference to Obama’s “part-Kenyan” ancestry during the EU referendum campaign, and his comparison of presumptive Democratic nominee Clinton to a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital” or Lady Macbeth.
He said: “I’m afraid there is such a rich thesaurus now of things that I have said that have been — one way or another, through what alchemy I do not know — somehow misconstrued that it would really take me too long to engage in a full global itinerary of apology to all concerned. Most people who read these things in their proper context can see exactly what was intended and indeed I find that virtually everybody I have met so far in this job understands that very well, particularly on the international scene.”
He said it was “far more important” to focus on the challenges facing the world.
“We have some very serious issues before us today. We have an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria, which is getting worse and worse, we have to come up with some answers there.
“We have real problems in Yemen, which are currently intractable, and we have a burgeoning crisis in Egypt.”
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