Trump officials think Boris Johnson is "a joke"

 
Catherine Neilan
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Boris Johnson Attends His Constituency Declaration
What gave them that idea? (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson is so widely derided that officials in Donald Trump's government don't want to deal with him, it's been claimed.

He might still be one of the favourites to succeed Theresa May, but according to The Times, White House representatives and other diplomats "don't want to go anywhere near him because they think he's a joke".

"It’s worse in Europe," the article adds. "There is not a single foreign minister there who takes him seriously. They think he’s a clown who can never resist a gag."

"The French think Boris is totally unreliable, the Germans think he’s a liar and the Italians think he’s dangerous," one Conservative MP said.

"He is undermining our ability to negotiate internationally and degrading our position abroad. The foreign secretary is supposed to enhance Britain’s reputation but all over the world Boris is making matters worse."

Johnson has certainly appeared to be making Brexit secretary David Davis' job harder. Comments such as telling the EU they could "go whistle" for its "extortionate" divorce bill have been seized on by the Brussels team, with Michel Barnier saying he could hear no whistling "only a ticking clock".

Other comments, such as his jibe that Italy would be worse off if the UK left the single market because of prosecco sales, have also fallen flat.

Even civil servants have had enough of the Uxbridge MP, with a source telling the Times "It’s all about managing Boris, not respecting him. He’s got no concentration span so it’s difficult to have a detailed discussion with him.

"The whole thing is completely ramshackle for someone who is supposed to be so clever. He doesn’t know what he thinks so he flies by the seat of his pants."

Update: A Downing Street spokeswoman said Prime Minister Theresa May had "full confidence" in the foreign secretary, adding "They have a good relationship".

She declined to comment on any specific points, however.

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