US President Obama has just visited London amid tensions revolving around the “Brexit”, or the June 23rd vote on whether the UK remains in the EU or not. The trip was “officially” for celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. President Obama also met the newest addition to the royal family, the young Prince George.
Prince George meets The President and First Lady of the United States pic.twitter.com/HZxelhSSr4
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 22, 2016
However, recent comments and controversy shows that there may have been more to the trip than previously planned, as President Obama spoke about the potential of the UK leaving the EU, more commonly known as the “Brexit”.
Tensions in Britain are extremely high, as the Brexit is quite a polarizing issue. Prime Minister David Cameron is facing off against London Mayor Boris Johnson. Cameron is fighting to stay in the EU, while Mayor Johnson is pushing for a Brexit. A visit from Obama did not help the situation, as the president commented on the issue. He said that if Britain left the EU, in terms of trade deals, Britain “is going to be in the back of the queue.”
This position was not popular with the London Mayor, who attacked Obama, bringing up a point from years ago where Obama moved a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office. “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”. These comments were immediately attacked as racist towards the US President, and has been a serious blow to Mayor Johnson and his ‘leave’ campaign. Others have accused the Prime Minister of writing the words, as Obama used the word “queue”, where natural American vernacular would say “line”. The Prime Minister came out and said that they did not feed the line to the President; they were Obama’s own words.
UKIP leader Nigel Farange came to the defense of Boris Johnson, saying “It’s just that you know people emerge from colonialism with different views of the British. Some thought that they were really rather benign and rather good, and others saw them as foreign invaders. Obama’s family come from that second school of thought and it hasn’t quite left him yet.”
Almost instantly, British MP’s lined up to decry these ridiculous comments from Boris Johnson and Nigel Farange
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) April 22, 2016
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) April 22, 2016
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) April 22, 2016
Mask slips again. Boris part-Kenyan Obama comment is yet another example of dog whistle racism from senior Tories. He should withdraw it.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) April 22, 2016
Boris Johnson demeans London with his disgusting smear that Obama is anti-British because of his ancestry, he shd apologise
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedMP) April 22, 2016
Even Sir Nicholas Soames, a grandson of Winston Churchill, weighed in
Appalling article by @BorisJohnson in Sun totally wrong on almost everything. Inconceivable WSC wld not have welcomed Presidents views
— Nicholas Soames (@nsoamesmp) April 22, 2016
This Brexit issue is quite an interesting and important one. It will determine the fate of Britain for years to come, and could cripple both the EU and Britain in the aftermath if Britain votes to leave the EU. Even the IMF is against the departure, but in the end it is up to the British people to decide.