Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unlikely to get a “warm welcome” from the White House if Joe Biden wins the presidential election because of lingering resentment over his remarks about Barack Obama, according to Britain’s former ambassador to Washington.
Lord Darroch said there was still some “resentment and unhappiness” over comments Mr Johnson made while mayor of London and in newspaper columns about the former US president.
He also said Mr Johnson would find it easier to secure a trade deal with Donald Trump in the White House than Mr Biden.
Lord Darroch, who was speaking at an event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, was asked who the Prime Minister would prefer to win the presidential election next month.
“I think they are rather torn,” he replied.
“I hesitate to say this, but there will be some Obama people in a Biden administration and they remember some of the things that the current Prime Minister said about Obama whether as a newspaper columnist or whether it was mayor of London,” Lord Darroch said.
“I promise you there is still some resentment and unhappiness over that.
“I’m not sure there will be, you know, quite the warm, welcoming embrace from Biden for Boris Johnson Prime Minister, as it would be from Donald Trump for Boris Johnson Prime Minister.
“I think there is some question marks if Biden wins.”
In 2016 while mayor of London, Mr Johnson wrote a newspaper column in which he said the removal of a bust of Churchill from Mr Obama’s office was seen by some as a sign of an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire” and his “part-Kenyan” ancestry.
Lord Darroch said he believed a Biden administration would not prioritise a free trade deal with the UK.
“If Biden wins then life becomes to an extent more normal and Nato gets a boost from having a more congenial president of the White House and just international relations become calmer and much more predictable,” he said.
“But I don’t think that for Joe Biden’s administration a free trade deal with the UK is going to be the top priority.
“I think maybe re-joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership or maybe an EU-US deal might be priorities.
“I think the free trade deal is a lot more deliverable a lot more quickly, though with some big and painful concessions by us if Trump wins.”
Lord Darroch was appointed ambassador in 2016 and resigned from his role in 2019 after emails were leaked in which he called the Trump administration “clumsy and inept”.