LONDON — Donald Trump’s critics should stop trying to “demonise” him, said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he rejected what he called “distasteful” comparisons between the US President and Hitler.
Johnson leaped to Trump’s defence on Monday afternoon after being urged by MPs to withdraw the UK’s invitation to Trump for a state visit.
In a debate in the Commons, Labour MP Dennis Skinner compared Trump to Mussolini and Hitler and urged Johnson to “ban” Trump from visiting.
“Will the Foreign Secretary just for a moment try to recall along with me as I hid underneath the stairs when two fascist dictators Mussolini and Hitler were raining bombs down on towns and cities in Britain,” Skinner said.
“Now this government is hands in hand with another fascist Trump. What I say to him is do the decent thing and ban the visit.”
Johnson mocked Skinner’s suggestion that Mussolini had bombed the UK before later adding that: “I do find it distasteful to make comparisons between elected leader of a great democracy and 1930s tyrants.”
The foreign secretary defended his government’s close relationship with Trump and claimed that it had helped secure key protections for UK citizens who had been threatened by Trump’s travel ban.
“We have an exemption for UK passport holders whether dual nationals or otherwise [from the travel ban] and I think most fair minded people would say that actually shows the advantage of working closely with the Trump administration,” he told MPs.
He then attacked the opposition for seeking to “demonise” the US president.
“I may say that the approach taken by the party opposite pointlessly to demonise the Trump administration would have achieved the very opposite,” he told MPs.
However, Johnson’s claim that the the UK secured unique protections from its relationship had earlier on Monday been dismissed by the prime minister’s own spokesperson.
When asked whether the UK had been made a “special case” in its exemption from the ban, they replied: “No. Any suggestion that this was the case is wrong.”
Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadian citizens with dual nationality would not be hit by the travel ban some 15 hours before Johnson’s announcement.
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