British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.S. is a “bastion of peace and freedom” when asked about President Donald Trump’s handling of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lawmakers quizzed Johnson on Wednesday over his stance on China, the qualities of Trump and a number of other issues, including the reopening of schools in England.
Last year, during his battle to become Conservative Party leader, Johnson said Trump has “many, many good qualities,” a statement that was brought up again on Wednesday in light of the civil unrest in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Addressing the prime minister in Parliament via video link, Kirsty Blackman, a Scottish National Party member, said: “The response from the U.S. president to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement has been horrendous. Can the prime minister confirm to me if he still believes Donald Trump has ‘many, many good qualities,’ and, if so, what are they?”
Johnson responded: “I renew what I’ve said many times — black lives matter, and the death of George Floyd was absolutely appalling.
“As for the qualities of Mr. Trump, he has, amongst many other things, he is president of the United States, which is our most important ally in the world today. Whatever people may say about it, whatever those on the left may say about it, the United States is a bastion of peace and freedom and has been for most of my lifetime.”
The prime minister was also asked about his stance on China after Beijing announced plans for the imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong. Johnson has promised to give millions of Hong Kong citizens the right to live and work in the U.K. if the law is passed.
“I am a Sinophile, and I believe we must continue to work with this great and rising power,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “But when we have serious concerns as a country, whether it’s over the origins of COVID or the protection of our critical national infrastructure or indeed over what is happening in Hong Kong, then we must feel absolutely free to raise those issues loud and clear with Beijing, and that is what we will continue to do.”