The Obama White House viewed Boris Johnson as a British version of Donald Trump “with better hair”, according to a forthcoming memoir by a former top presidential adviser.
In the World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser and speechwriter for the former president, describes eight years of domestic and foreign policy making, culminating in the shock of Trump’s victory in November 2016.
In the book, due to be published on 5 June, Rhodes recounts a “hastily arranged” trip to London in April 2016 aimed at bolstering the then prime minister, David Cameron, and argue the case for remaining in the EU, two months before the UK referendum on Brexit.
“It was unusual to coordinate so closely with a foreign government, but the Brits were different, and Brexit would be calamitous, a crucial piece of the post-world war two order drifting off into the sea,” Rhodes recalls.
Obama agreed to fly to London after Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, now ambassador to Paris, emailed Rhodes appealing for a presidential visit, pointing out that the polls were finely balanced and Obama had an approval rating in the UK of over 70%.