White House Press Secretary Likens U.K.'s Boris Johnson to Israel's U.S. Ambassador

U.S. foreign relationships transcend 'any single personality,' Josh Earnest says.

Boris Johnson waves after announcing that he will not run for leadership of Britain's ruling Conservative Party, London, June 30, 2016.
Matt Dunham, AP

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has drawn a parallel between the appointments of the new U.K. foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the appointment of the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, making a comment about their personalities. 

During a press briefing on Thursday, Earnest was asked whether the U.S. administration would be able to work with Johnson, considering he has been critical of President Barack Obama. 
 
“I got questions of this variety when Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced that Ambassador Dermer would be the Israeli envoy to the United States,” Earnest said. “And what I said in that situation is the same thing that I’ll say here, which is to restate a principle about the importance of the U.S.-U.K. special relationship. That relationship transcends any single personality, and choices that are made by the British government about who will represent them on the international stage are rightly choices that should be made by British leaders, and British leaders alone.”

Johnson had drawn accusations of racism by suggesting in a newspaper article that Obama, whom he described as "part-Kenyan," was biased against Britain because of an "ancestral dislike of the British empire."