Boris Johnson hails Donald Trump as 'great huge global brand
Boris Johnson has described Donald Trump as “one of the great huge global brands” and said he was penetrating corners of the world’s consciousness that few other presidents have managed to reach.
The UK foreign secretary’s praise on the US cable show Fox and Friends came as he may find himself hauled in front of a parliamentary committee for failing to correct remarks in which he suggested a jailed British dual Iranian national may have been training journalists in Iran, leaving her open to further charges.
Johnson’s description of the US president came on Trump’s favourite TV channel Fox News. He is in US to speak to members of Congress about the need to retain the Iranian nuclear deal, which the president has refused to re-certify.
“The American president is one of the great huge global brands and is penetrating corners of the global consciousness that I think few other presidents have ever done,” he said.
He also defended Trump’s controversial tweets, saying they were an effective means of communication “no matter how rambunctious”.
“Yes a lot of people don’t like it and a lot of people relate to it,” he said. “In an age when people have been turned off politics it’s more direct and it’s more communicative than a lot of previous presidents have managed.”
Johnson accepted he faced some consular issues in Iran after his remarks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe were seized on by the Iranian judiciary to press further charges against her. She is currently serving a five-year jail term after being accused of espionage – a charge she denies.
Labour MPs are considering sending him to the privileges committee for making an untruthful statement to the effect that she had been conducting journalism courses in Iran.
Johnson has accepted his remarks could have been clearer, but insists they were deliberately misconstrued and refuses to apologise. He claims to have had assurances from Tehran that his remarks have had no effect on the judicial process in Iran, and said he had underlined that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had not been training journalists in his conversation with the Iranian government.
Johnson has promised to visit Iran before Christmas and if appropriate will visit her in jail.
Some Tory MPs are aghast at his handling of the issue and claim his remarks have made Zaghari Ratcliffe a much more precious bargaining commodity for Tehran.