Johnson was likened to a right-wing Tea Party politician after his attack on Obama’s Brexit intervention seemed to get out of hand.
Writing in tabloid The Sun on the first day of Obama’s three-day visit to Britain, Johnson suggested the US president had an “ancestral dislike” of the British Empire because his father was from Kenya.
Kenya was formerly a British colony which achieved independence in 1963 after a bloody uprising.
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) April 22, 2016
Nigel Farage MEP backed Johnson’s comments on Friday, telling the BBC he thought Obama holds “a grudge” against Britain because of his family’s history.
Johnson, who is a leading light in the right-wing Eurosceptic “Leave” campaign in the upcoming EU referendum, made the comments in an article attacking the US president for intervening in the debate.
Obama wants the UK to stay in the EU, but critics said the US president did not have Britain’s best interests at heart.
Johnson began his article by lamenting the fact that a famous bust of WWII Prime Minister Winston Churchill had disappeared from the Oval Office after Obama entered the White House.
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) April 21, 2016
“No one was sure whether the president had himself been involved in the decision.
“Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”
Farage was quick to jump on the Obama-bashing bandwagon.
“I think Obama, because of his grandfather and Kenya and colonization, I think Obama bears a bit of a grudge against this country,” he told BBC Radio 4.
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) April 16, 2016
Speaking to the Guardian, the UKIP leader said: “It’s just that you know people emerge from colonialism with different views of the British.
“Some thought that they were benign and really rather good, and others saw them as foreign invaders that kept people suppressed. Obama’s family come from that second school of thought and it hasn’t quite left him yet.”
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell swiftly attacked Johnson for his comments.
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) March 17, 2016
“Mask slips again. Boris part-Kenyan Obama comment is yet another example of dog whistle racism from senior Tories. He should withdraw it,” McDonnell tweeted.
Kenya endured a brutal conflict in the 1950s known as the Mau Mau Uprising, when a group of Kikuyu Kenyans sought to expel the British.
Some 12,000 Mau Mau rebels were killed during the uprising. Britain stands accused of perpetrating war crimes in the conflict, which dragged on for eight years and is believed to have contributed to Kenya’s eventual independence.