With the political establishment in the United Kingdom seemingly in more turmoil each day, a serious shake-up of the cabinet took place over the past few days. With Theresa May being confirmed as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the shakeup also left other positions open in the cabinet. The ink from David Cameron’s resignation note has barely dried, but people are already talking about all the changes and what it means for the Conservative Party – let alone the rest of the UK.
One of the most surprising moves of the past 24 hours resulted in Boris Johnson being confirmed as the UK’s new Foreign Secretary. It is a hugely surprising move; given the caustic statements he has made about foreign leaders in the past. Johnson is famous for referring to Hillary Clinton as a “sadistic nurse from a mental facility,” while he also lamented the “anti-UK” sentiments shown by “part-Kenyan” Barack Obama during the Brexit campaign.
Johnson was not always viewed with such contempt by a vast majority of citizens in the United Kingdom. He was a relatively successful mayor of London for many years, while his previous political positions also earned him a positive reputation. But his recent moves, particularly in supporting the Brexit movement, led to a very polarizing opinion of Mr. Johnson.
The most unusual part about the past few weeks of Boris Johnson’s career is the fact that he did not push harder to become the UK’s new Prime Minister. Most experts believed his support of the Brexit campaign was a way of forcing David Cameron aside so he could gain enough support to become Prime Minister. But things did not work out in that way, and Johnson dropped out of the race for the Prime Minister-ship in dramatic fashion last week.
Perhaps Johnson hitched his wagon to Theresa May right after his resignation, or maybe May is looking for a way to get him out of the country, but he is now the UK’s new Foreign Secretary. The move will please those who share his anti-EU views, but it will also horrify those who prefer UK politicians to present a positive image of the country when they are dealing with foreign officials.
Aside from his criticism of EU officials, Johnson also has a troubling problem with making racist comments. For example, he referred to the citizens of Papua New Guinea as being “prone to cannibalism” in 2006.