The 2024 race for the White House is on. Donald Trump is in, Nikki Haley is getting ready, Joe Biden is preparing to fend off intra-party foes — and now, Cockburn has learned of another possible entrant: former British prime minister Boris Johnson.
Cockburn caught up with the ex-PM at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC. When asked shortly after tending bar if he wanted to move from 10 Downing Street to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Johnson told Cockburn: “I don’t rule it out.”
Johnson, who is visiting the US to push for additional aid to Ukraine, did not specify whether he would run as a Republican or Democrat. Cockburn did speak with him at a famous Republican haunt, but the cause he’s championing is one supported by members of both parties.
Before leaving Downing Street last September, Johnson was a staunch supporter of Ukraine. He visited Kyiv in the opening months of the war, and Britain provided about £2 billion of aid under his leadership. Ukrainians, in their gratitude, have named everything from cakes to streets after him. He has even been awarded Ukraine’s Order of Liberty — the highest honor the country provides to foreigners.
It remains to be seen how possible — or serious — Johnson’s presidential aspirations are. The former Spectator editor renounced his American citizenship in 2016, in part to “ensure he is out of reach of America’s Internal Revenue Service,” the Guardian reported. He was, however, born in New York City and so might be able to reapply.
While Johnson was forced out of the prime ministership with low approval ratings following a series of coronavirus-related scandals, it’s possible that he would find a more favorable climate in America, a famously Anglophilic country. After all, America’s current president was just bullied into declaring that the coronavirus is over.
The US is becoming a place where former Tory prime ministers can attempt to reboot their political careers. Johnson’s successor former prime minister, Liz Truss, cavorted with House Republicans last month — as Johnson plans to do — to figure out how to organize elected British conservatives.
At the time of his resignation, Johnson announced that “like Cincinnatus, I am returning to my plow.” At the time, this was interpreted in Britain as Boris floating the possibility that he might one day come back to frontline politics, if duty called. The reference was rather vague — who’s to say he didn’t have this side of the Pond in mind?