Boris Johnson shares some striking similarities with Donald Trump – I think a paternity test is in order

There is the same penchant for comically deranged hair, along with the outlandish narcissism, vulgar populist grandstanding, bone idle refusal to read a brief and limitless capacity for blurting out the crazily offensive

Matthew Norman
Tuesday 16 January 2018 16:27 GMT
Born in New York not far from where 18-year-old Trump was living at the time... could it be just possible?
Born in New York not far from where 18-year-old Trump was living at the time... could it be just possible? (Reuters)

I hope to God that the following question doesn’t flirt with bad taste – but even if it does, the public interest demands it be asked.

Is Boris Johnson Donald Trump’s son?

Officially, as you will know, the Foreign Secretary is the first fruit of reality TV star Stanley Johnson’s fecund loins. And he may very well be so. But for a moment consider the circumstantial evidence that points towards Trump.

There is the same penchant for comically deranged hair, of course, along with the outlandish narcissism, vulgar populist grandstanding, bone idle refusal to read a brief and limitless capacity for blurting out the crazily offensive.

Most strikingly, as we have lately been reminded, they respond with spookily identical shamelessness to what would be a source of crippling embarrassment for anyone else.

Two days after Trump reassured a reporter “I’m the least racist person you will ever interview”, Boris delved into his yellowing copy of the Double-Down-On-The-Fantasy playbook. He said that the only error in the side-of-the-bus legend about Leave releasing the extra £350m per week, as mythically hypothecated for an ailing NHS, was that it was “a gross underestimate”. He now insists that in 2021, at the end of the scheduled Brexit transition period, the figure will be £438m.

It is a bog standard political tactic to repeat a lie that has been clinically exposed, in this case by the Office of National Statistics and every other analytical body with a scrap of credibility in the area. It needs no restating that the £350m-claim conveniently ignored the annual 25 per cent rebate, EU investment in Britain and reduced growth in GDP caused by leaving. The Financial Times, which is believed to know a bit about money, has calculated that leaving will cost the Treasury precisely £350m.

But to inflate an infamous lie into a still more outrageous one takes more than the generic politician’s adoption of “Never explain, never apologise” as a mission statement, or having the same contempt for the public intelligence as for the facts. It relies on the perverted credo that in the post-objective reality world, there are no facts; that “the truth” is a matter of personal choice. It requires, in short, a Trump.

Whether Boris is literally one of those is unclear in the absence of DNA testing – though technically it is possible.

When Boris was born in Manhattan in June 1964, 18-year-old Donald was a few miles away studying (or “studying”) at Fordham University in the Bronx. Nine months earlier, he had been at a military academy in upstate New York. The details of any weekend furloughs home to the city in the autumn of 1963 are not known. Also unknown is whether, the following June, he made the short trip uptown to visit a newborn.

All in all, it is long odds against this relationship being quite that special. But regardless of a genetic link, Boris is unmistakably Trump’s spiritual son. As such he is a credit to his honorary sire. His filial piety goes far beyond defending Trump through every fresh disgrace, either by declining to criticise him or by lacerating anyone who takes umbrage with such elegances as the ban on visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

Boris Johnson refuses to push to cancel Donald Trump’s planned State Visit to Britain

Every little boy wants to emulate his dad. But apart from Baby Doc Duvalier, who loyally continued Papa Doc’s work in the “sh**hole” nation of Haiti, few have managed it as well or across so many fields as Baby Trump. From the overt racism (that reference to “piccaninnies”) to a laissez faire attitude to the concept of marital fidelity, Boris is virtually a clone.

Through osmosis if not through DNA, he inherited the old man’s gift for spectacular flip-flopping. Just as Trump was a liberal Democrat before it suited him to be an isolationist Republican, so Boris was strongly in favour of single market membership until it met with his ambition to reverse that very unshakeable conviction.

He too used TV fame as a shortcut to circumvent the traditional long slog to political prominence. He brazenly lied his way to a shock election victory he no more expected or wanted, judging by the look of traumatised horror the morning after the referendum, than the Trump of Michael Woolf’s book wanted or expected to beat Hillary.

The aversion to taxes (Boris relinquished his American citizenship to avoid US income tax); the mastery of the diplomatic niceties (Boris anticipating the explosion in Libyan tourism once “the dead bodies are cleared away”); the flawless grasp of fine detail (Boris’ reference to Africa as “that country”) … I could go on and on.

Perhaps it’s still too early to abandon all hope that power and responsibility will mature our overgrown toddler better than the Oval Office has rubbed off on theirs. Who knows, Boris may sail through this week’s conference about North Korea in Vancouver in stable genius mode, without once bragging about the size of daddy’s nuclear button, or asking the delegation from Seoul if they prefer their Basset Hound honey roasted or stir-fried.

But while you can take the baby out of the Big Apple, and send to him Eton and Oxford, for all the sub-Wodehousian gibberish and Cicero quotations in the world, this one seems to have fallen not too far from the tree.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in