President who? Boris Johnson FAILS to mention Donald Trump by name

President who? Boris Johnson FAILS to mention Donald Trump by name during 21-minute press conference where PM denied he and Justin Trudeau mocked the US leader

  • At this evening’s press conference Boris Johnson went out of his way not to say Donald Trump’s name 
  • Boris Johnson has hosted 70th birthday summit of NATO alliance leaders at country hotel in Hertfordshire
  • The Prime Minister has appealed for unity after tensions over Turkey’s military incursion against Kurds
  • Leaders were caught on a ‘hot mic’ gossiping about US president Donald Trump at reception last night
  • Mr Trump branded Mr Trudeau ‘two-faced’ before cancelling his final press conference and leaving for US
  • Mr Johnson denied any knowledge of the spat and praised the strength of the Special Relationship 

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Boris Johnson avoided using Donald Trump’s name throughout a 21-minute NATO press conference today, after earlier denying he was caught mocking the US President in an embarrassing ‘hot mic’ incident.

Donald Trump left the summit a day early tonight after first venting his fury at ‘two-faced’ Justin Trudeau, after the Canadian PM was caught chatting with Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson, making what were perceived as disparaging remarks about Trump.

This evening despite mentioning a host of fellow world leaders by name Mr Johnson performed verbal gymnastics to avoid naming the US leader, who is deeply unpopular in the UK and whose closeness to Johnson is perceived as a potential electoral liability for the PM.

Asked if Trump was good for the West, Johnson said the U.S. had been the guarantor of security for 70 years.  Pressed on his opinion of Trump himself he said ‘the current U.S. administration’ had worked well with the U.K.

Asked if he and Trump discussed plans for a pan-national digital tax on Facebook and Google, he said: ‘That’s been raised with our friends in the U.S.’

He said questions about Trump and Prince Andrew were extraneous to the NATO summit.

And grilled on the day’s open-mic gaffe, in which he and the leaders of Canada and France were caught seemingly sniping about Trump, he insisted it was ‘nonsense’ and said he did not know what the topic of conservation had been.

Mr Johnson denied knowledge of the extraordinary conversation caught on camera at a reception last night, during which Mr Trudeau appeared to lampoon Mr Trump as other leaders laughed.

At a press conference closing the gathering of the military alliance this afternoon, Mr Johnson was asked whether the group – which also included him, French president Emmanuel Macron and Princess Anne – had been having a ‘joke at the expense’ of Mr Trump.

‘Complete nonsense,’ he said. ‘I don’t know where that has come from.’

The ducking came as Mr Trump launched an angry rebuke at Mr Trudeau – seemingly holding him entirely responsible for the ridicule. He cancelled his own concluding press conference and headed straight back to Washington, but said it was because he had already spoken to the media at length.  

Mr Johnson was effusive about the Special Relationship during his grilling by journalists, but did not mention Mr Trump by name once. 

He has been trying to keep his distance from the US president amid Tory fears that their election campaign could be derailed, with just a week to go. 

The PM and Mr Trump finally posed for the cameras today as they arrived at the country house hotel in Hertfordshire where the NATO summit was being held.

But they held talks firmly behind closed doors in Downing Street yesterday – and Mr Johnson did not even emerge to greet his ally at the entrance to No10. 

The summit – which marked the 70th birthday of the pivotal Western grouping – was marred by a bitter spat over Emmanuel Macron‘s jibe that NATO is at risk of becoming ‘brain dead’.

Mr Trump branded Mr Macron’s comments – a response to an apparent deal between the US and Turkey to facilitate an offensive against Kurdish forces – very nasty’.   

Wheels coming off? As Donald Trump headed for the US this afternoon Mr Johnson’s attention turned back to he general election with a visit to the headquarters of Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes this afternoon

Boris Johnson in Milton Keynes

He was at the headquarters of Red Bull Racing Formula One

Boris Johnson joined the Formula One team’s pit crew as the changed a tyre on a car but seems confused by the equipment

Boris Johnson denied knowledge of the extraordinary conversation caught on camera at a reception last night, during which Canada's Justin Trudeau appeared to lampoon Donald Trump as other leaders laughed

Boris Johnson denied knowledge of the extraordinary conversation caught on camera at a reception last night, during which Canada’s Justin Trudeau appeared to lampoon Donald Trump as other leaders laughed

A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau's comments caught on a hot mic Tuesday

A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau’s comments caught on a hot mic Tuesday

President Trump was asked about Justin Trudeau's comments at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening during a one-on-one press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

President Trump was asked about Justin Trudeau’s comments at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening during a one-on-one press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel 

The PM and the US president posed for the cameras as he arrived at the country house hotel in Hertfordshire where the gathering was held

The PM and the US president posed for the cameras as he arrived at the country house hotel in Hertfordshire where the gathering was held

Mr Trump confirmed he was cancelling his press conference tonight after branding Mr Trudeau 'two-faced'

Mr Trump confirmed he was cancelling his press conference tonight after branding Mr Trudeau ‘two-faced’

Boris Johnson speaks while holding a Greggs sausage roll on the platform of Milton Keynes train station, after a visit at Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes today

Boris Johnson speaks while holding a Greggs sausage roll on the platform of Milton Keynes train station, after a visit at Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes today

Mr Johnson tucked into the popular pastry snack after another day election campaigning, with the polling date just over a week away

Mr Johnson tucked into the popular pastry snack after another day election campaigning, with the polling date just over a week away

Mr Johnson was asked by reporters whether he thought Mr Trump was ‘good for the West’ as ‘a leader and a man’.

‘I certainly think that the United States is the guarantor of, has been a massive contributor to Nato, has been for 70 years a pillar of stability for our collective security,’ he said. 

He said the US had stood ‘shoulder for shoulder’ with the UK after the attempt on the life of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. 

‘You may remember country after country stepped forward to expel Russian diplomats – Russian spies – in solidarity with the UK. And the United States actually expelled 60. 

‘That was a fantastic testament, I think, to the trans-Atlantic alliance. 

‘American stood shoulder to shoulder with us then, has done for decades and is an invaluable ally and continues to be so.’ 

Mr Trump was given the opportunity to share his views on the ‘gossipgate’ episode as he held talks with Angela Merkel. 

Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau are caught gossiping about Trump 

Justin Trudeau, center, Emmanuel Macron, second right, and Boris Johnson, right, have all been caught on a hot mic at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception appearing to gossip about Donald Trump and an apparent impromptu lengthy press conference

Justin Trudeau, center, Emmanuel Macron, second right, and Boris Johnson, right, have all been caught on a hot mic at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception appearing to gossip about Donald Trump and an apparent impromptu lengthy press conference

Boris Johnson’s carefully-laid plans to assuage Donald Trump were put at risk by the emergence of a clip seemingly showing other leaders making fun of him. 

In footage being widely shared online, Mr Johnson Canada’s Justin Trudeau, French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Princess Anne are seen at a reception discussing why Mr Macron had been late during the London summit.

None of them mention Trump by name but Mr Trudeau appears to refer to the US president’s impromptu press conferences in what were meant to be photo ops with other leaders yesterday.

In the clip, Mr Johnson asks: ‘Is that why you were late?’ Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, swigging from his drink, shoots back: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.’

The video then cuts to a later clip, which is without context, where Trudeau adds: ‘You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.’ He then motions as if his jaw is dropping. It is not known if Trump is the focus of that comment as the video has been edited.

‘Well he’s two-faced,’ Mr Trump told reporters. ‘And honestly, with Trudeau he’s a nice guy, 

‘I find him to be a very nice guy but you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 per cent (on military budgets) and I guess he’s not very happy about it.’

For his part, Mr Trudeau tried to shrug off the episode. ‘As you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president,’ he said. 

Kicking off the summit near Watford earlier, Mr Johnson said Britain’s commitment to the alliance remained ‘rock solid’.

‘Clearly it is very important that the alliance stays together, but there is far, far more that unites us than divides us,’ he said.

Mr Johnson said he had a ‘very good’ bilateral meeting with Mr Trump last night – although it took place behind closed doors and no photographs were allowed.

‘We discussed the future of Nato, we discussed what is going on in Syria and various other matters,’ he said. 

Mr Macron acknowledged in a tweet that his statements about NATO had ‘triggered some reactions’ but said he stood by his remarks.

Speaking to reporters at the summit he said: ‘I think it’s our responsibility to raise differences that could be damaging and have a real strategic debate.

‘It has started, so I am satisfied.’ 

Leaders from the 29 member states are starting talks at The Grove, having already attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen, and visited Downing Street last night.

The meeting in Hertfordshire is expected to consider new threats, including in the areas of cyber and space, after the alliance last month declared space one of its operational domains alongside air, land, sea and cyber.

In a rallying call to begin the discussions, Mr Johnson, whose predecessor Theresa May volunteered to host the meeting, reminded the allies that their commitment to NATO has helped keep people across the globe safe since its inception in 1949.

‘Seventy years on, we are rock solid in our commitment to Nato and to the giant shield of solidarity that now protects 29 countries and nearly a billion people,’ Mr Johnson said.

‘The fact that we live in peace today demonstrates the power of the simple proposition at the heart of this alliance: that for as long as we stand together, no-one could hope to defeat us – and therefore no-one will start a war.

‘This essential principle is enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – that if any one of us is attacked, all of us will go to their defence. If Nato has a motto, it is, ‘one for all, and all for one’.’

The words – echoing the famous phrase of The Three Musketeers, a novel written by renowned French author Alexandre Dumas – will have pointed resonance for Mr Macron,.

Mr Johnson said the ‘doctrine of coming to one another’s aid’ was the ‘single most important explanation’ for why the British people and hundreds of millions of others lived in peace and freedom.

‘Everything our peoples hold dear – from liberty and democracy to their jobs, homes, schools and hospitals – would not be secure and could not flourish without the peace that Nato is designed to guarantee,’ the Conservative Party leader added.

But the PM warned that peace ‘cannot be taken for granted’ and said Nato members must ‘ensure our deeds match our words’.

He is set to lay out the UK’s own contribution to Nato’s defence ranks and highlight the ’emerging threats’ faced by the alliance, such as cyber warfare.

Mr Trump chatted to Justin Trudeau before the round table session started today - although it is not known whether they discussed the 'hot mic' incident from the reception last night

Mr Trump chatted to Justin Trudeau before the round table session started today – although it is not known whether they discussed the ‘hot mic’ incident from the reception last night 

For his part, Mr Trudeau tried to shrug off the episode. 'As you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president,' he said

For his part, Mr Trudeau tried to shrug off the episode. ‘As you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president,’ he said 

Mr Trump was seated next to Mr Stoltenberg for the discussions between the NATO member state leaders

Mr Trump was seated next to Mr Stoltenberg for the discussions between the NATO member state leaders

Mr Johnson's maverick adviser Dominic Cummings was at the venue for the talks today, despite No10 saying last week that he had resigned for the election campaign

Mr Johnson’s maverick adviser Dominic Cummings was at the venue for the talks today, despite No10 saying last week that he had resigned for the election campaign

Mr Johnson said: ‘For the UK’s part, we spend over 2 per cent of GDP on defence.

‘We are making the biggest contribution of any European ally to Nato’s readiness initiative by offering an armoured brigade, two fighter squadrons and six warships, including the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.

‘As allies and friends, we must never shy away from discussing new realities, particularly Nato’s response to emerging threats like hybrid warfare and disruptive technologies including space and cyber.’ 

Luxury venue for NATO summit talks 

The NATO summit is being held at the Grove, a country house hotel Hertfordshire.

Set in 300 acres of countryside near Watford, it is billed as the ‘ultimate five star retreat’. 

It was the home of the Earls of Clarendon before being restored and turned into a hotel.

It boasts an award winning spa, championship golf course and high-class restaurants. 

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said he is confident differences with Turkey over a new alliance defence plan to protect the Baltic states and Poland can be resolved.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block the plan after criticism of Turkey’s incursion against the Kurds in northern Syria.

But arriving for a meeting of alliance leaders near Watford, Mr Stoltenberg said: ‘I am confident that we will find a solution to the updating of the revised defence plan.’

He said Nato leaders would for the first time discuss the rise of China, which was now the world’s second biggest spender on defence.

‘This provides opportunities and also challenges,’ he said.

In a fresh headache for Mr Johnson, footage being widely shared online shows him, Justin Trudeau, French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Princess Anne at a reception discussing why Mr Macron had been late during the London summit.

None of them mention Trump by name but Mr Trudeau appears to refer to the US president’s impromptu press conferences in what were meant to be photo ops with other leaders yesterday.

In the clip, Mr Johnson asks: ‘Is that why you were late?’ Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, swigging from his drink, shoots back: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.’

The video then cuts to a later clip, which is without context, where Trudeau adds: ‘You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.’ He then motions as if his jaw is dropping. It is not known if Trump is the focus of that comment as the video has been edited.

The NATO allies have been holding their discussions at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire today

The NATO allies have been holding their discussions at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire today

Donald Trump arrived at the Grove near Watford today by helicopter as the potentially tricky NATO summit kicked off

Donald Trump arrived at the Grove near Watford today by helicopter as the potentially tricky NATO summit kicked off

Mr Johnson checked the event was running to schedule this morning as he welcomed leaders with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg

Mr Johnson checked the event was running to schedule this morning as he welcomed leaders with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg

There was an awkward moment as Mr Trump tried to walk the wrong way off the stage after the welcome

There was an awkward moment as Mr Trump tried to walk the wrong way off the stage after the welcome

Iceland's PM Katrin Jakobsdottir had to be pointed in the right direction by Mr Stoltenberg after she arrived today

Iceland’s PM Katrin Jakobsdottir had to be pointed in the right direction by Mr Stoltenberg after she arrived today

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed in good spirits as she arrived for the summit in Hertfordshire today

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed in good spirits as she arrived for the summit in Hertfordshire today

Dutch PM Mark Rutte is also at the gathering at a country house hotel in Hertfordshire today

Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel

Dutch PM Mark Rutte (left) and Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel (right) were also at the gathering at a country house hotel in Hertfordshire today

Leaders of Nato alliance countries, and its secretary general, join Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales for a group picture during a reception in Buckingham Palace, London, as they gathered to mark 70 years of the alliance

Leaders of Nato alliance countries, and its secretary general, join Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales for a group picture during a reception in Buckingham Palace, London, as they gathered to mark 70 years of the alliance

Donald Trump (pictured with First Lady Melania at No10 last night) has branded Mr Macron's comments - a response to an apparent deal between the US and Turkey to facilitate an offensive against Kurdish forces - very nasty'

 Donald Trump (pictured with First Lady Melania at No10 last night) has branded Mr Macron’s comments – a response to an apparent deal between the US and Turkey to facilitate an offensive against Kurdish forces – very nasty’

Footage being widely shared online shows Mr Johnson (centre), Justin Trudeau (left), French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Princess Anne at a reception last night seemingly making fun of Mr Trump

Footage being widely shared online shows Mr Johnson (centre), Justin Trudeau (left), French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Princess Anne at a reception last night seemingly making fun of Mr Trump

Mr Macron and Mr Trump clashed over the French president's views on NATO during a press conference yesterday

Mr Macron and Mr Trump clashed over the French president’s views on NATO during a press conference yesterday

 

 

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