Why a Joe Biden presidential win could be bad for Boris Johnson

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3 min read
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addresses the nation at the Chase Center November 06, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.  The winner of the 2020 presidential election has yet to be declared, as vote counting continues in the key states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, and North Carolina. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addresses the nation (Getty)

Joe Biden is set to become the next president of the United States after winning the election but his victory could spell bad news for Boris Johnson.

The US-UK relationship has been turbulent under current president Donald Trump, although he has repeatedly praised the prime minister and backed Brexit.

A Biden victory in the US election may improve some aspects of the special relationship with the UK – but issues surrounding Brexit and the Irish border could yet throw a spanner in the works.

Biden has already issued a stark warning about Johnson’s apparent willingness to tear up the Brexit divorce deal over measures aimed at addressing issues around the Irish border.

Watch: Joe Biden speech

Irish-American Biden has warned that the Good Friday Agreement cannot become a “casualty of Brexit” and any future UK-US trade deal would be contingent on respect for the accord.

Both Biden and the US Congress have made it clear a hard border in Ireland is unacceptable.

Tory MP Tobias Elwood said the Democratic presidential nominee and Johnson would have a great relationship on Radio 5 on Saturday morning but his colleague Labour MP Chris Bryant disputed this.

Bryant, who nominated Biden for the nobel peace prize, said: “I think on so many different levels Boris Johnson is exactly the kind of person Joe Biden doesn’t trust.

“Apart obviously from Johnson’s close fawning relationship with Donald Trump and Trump’s anointing of Johnson as his mini-me in the UK, there’s also, of course, the fundamentally racist language Johnson used about Barack Obama when he was over here referring to him as a Kenyan.”

After former President Obama warned against Brexit in 2016, Johnson suggested he was no ally of the UK because he had an “ancestral dislike of the British empire” due to his “part-Kenyan” heritage.

File photo dated 04/12/19 of US President Donald Trump (left) with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. With passions at fever-pitch, many Americans believe the November 3 election is make or break for the US, regardless of whether they back Mr Trump or Joe Biden.
US President Donald Trump (left) with Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Getty)
Democrats from across the city rallied outside the Philadelphia Convention Center to celebrate Joe Biden's lead in Pennsylvania and to ensure every vote gets counted across the state in Philadelphia, PA on November 6, 2020. (Photo by Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Democrats from across the city rallied outside the Philadelphia Convention Center (Getty)

Bryant added: “I think Biden will look at Johnson very very warily indeed and all the normal ways Johnson has of trying to ingratiate people I think just won’t wash with Biden, he’s just not that kind of politician.”

In December 2019, Biden labelled the prime minister as a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump.

All of this could hamper a so-called fast-track deal with the US some Brexit supporters said could help fill the void if a trade deal was not agreed with the EU.

There could also be some positive aspects for Boris from Biden being elected the next US leader.

His administration would be expected to put a much greater focus on international diplomacy – including with the UK – than the Trump White House’s “America First” agenda.

Both Biden and Johnson also support funding the World Health Organisation (WHO), saving the Iran nuclear deal and the US rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

The Trump administration is against all these policies.

Watch: Donald Trump makes speech