As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson struggles to find his voice

By Marc Landler and Stephen Castle

After a week when protesters battled with police outside his residence, spray-painted “racist” on a memorial to Winston Churchill and dumped the statue of a 17th-century slave trader into Bristol harbor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson knew he was going to face questions about race and justice in Parliament.

Yet, standing in the chamber on Wednesday, Johnson seemed nonplused when a lawmaker from the opposition Scottish National Party, Kirsty Blackman, condemned President Donald Trump’s response to the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, and asked Johnson if he still believed his assertion that Trump had “many, many good qualities.”

“Yes, black lives matter,” he replied, “and yes, the death of George Floyd was absolutely appalling.” As for Trump, the prime minister said, he is the president of the United States, Britain’s most important ally, which is “a bastion of peace and freedom, and has been, for most of my lifetime.”

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