Boris Johnson helped end Darroch’s career when, after the leak, he publicly declined to say that the ambassador should keep his job. But — ever the diplomat —Darroch is even-handed about the British leader. He thinks parallels between Johnson and Trump have often been overstated.
Unlike Trump, Johnson is generally supportive of immigration, extols free trade and accepts the need for strong action on climate change.
But Darroch says Johnson, who shares a ruthless streak and an intense ambition with Trump, is “fascinated” by the U.S. president,
“Particularly by Trump’s use of language,” he said. “He does speak with a simplicity and a directness, also sometimes a divisiveness, that is kind of unique.”
There’s a similar directness to the simple slogans — “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done” — that helped Johnson win the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2019 U.K. election.
Darroch also thinks Johnson may be emulating Trump in the British government’s disruptive approach in Brexit negotiations, such as the resent move to break provisions of the divorce deal and international law that has outraged and upset the EU.
Darroch said that Johnson gave a 2018 speech “saying that if Donald Trump had been asked to negotiate Brexit, he would have made some apparently outrageous and provocative demands right at the start. There would have been total chaos, lots of harsh words in both directions, lots of noise. But eventually things would have settled down. And maybe he will have got a very good outcome.”