Barack Obama tipped to become ambassador to UK under Joe Biden
This would be very awkward for Boris Johnson
Barack Obama has been tipped to be appointed US ambassador to the United Kingdom by president-elect Joe Biden.
A Conservative politician with connections to Biden's circle reportedly told the Sunday Times: “I have heard there is a possibility that Obama could be asked [to be UK ambassador] as a thank you.”
Biden of course served as vice president during Obama's two terms in the White House between 2008 and 2016.
If Obama were appointed to Biden's cabinet in such a role, it could create some awkwardness for Anglo-American relations, after comments made by prime minister Boris Johnson in 2012 about Obama did not go down well with Biden and Obama's administration.
Johnson was accused of racism when he alluded to Obama's "part-Kenyan heritage", suggesting Obama resented the UK for its colonial past in Kenya.
The comment was made in an article in the Sun newspaper about the alleged removal of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office.
Johnson wrote: “Some said it was a snub to Britain. 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".
In fact, the bust was only ever loaned to the White House for the duration of George W Bush's tenure, and Obama did not remove it as a snub to Britain.
A Democratic source told the Sunday Times at the weekend: “Biden’s got a long memory and Boris is not in his good books. Biden and Obama are like family. Many of the people around Biden have been talking about Boris Johnson. The Kenyan remark has never gone away. They see Boris and [Dominic] Cummings like Trump and Bannon.”
The comments were made as Tommy Vietor, a former Obama press aide, responded to Johnson’s tweet congratulating Biden by branding him a “shapeshifting creep".
As the United Kingdom looks to rely more heavily on relations with the United States for trade in a post-Brexit world, Boris Johnson's job could be about to get a lot harder.