London mayor Boris Johnson welcomed President Obama to Europe Thursday with a scathing newspaper op-ed slamming his policies as “downright hypocritical” and suggesting Obama’s hostility to the British is rooted in him being “part-Kenyan.”
“Some said it was a snub to Britain,” Johnson wrote about Obama removing a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office in 2009. “Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”
It’s an argument the British media has floated before, but the Washington Post debunked the story, reporting the bust was returned to the Brits before Obama even arrived in the White House.
In the column, Johnson goes on to repeatedly invoke Churchill to make his case for Britain leaving the EU, at turns attacking Obama’s policies as “incoherent,” “inconsistent,” and “downright hypocritical.”
Labour MP John McDonnell tweeted the remarks are “yet another example of dog-whistle racism from senior Tories,” while Ukip leader Nigel Farage told the Guardian Obama should “butt” out of the UK referendum.
“Look, I know his family’s background. Kenya. Colonialism. There is clearly something going on there,” Farage said.