The Daily Telegraph

US ambassador to Great Britain ‘made sexist and racist remarks’

- By Ben Riley-smith US EDITOR

DONALD TRUMP’S ambassador to Britain has been accused of making “sexist” and “racist” remarks which are reported to have come to light in a US government watchdog investigat­ion.

The allegation­s against Woody Johnson, a billionair­e NFL owner and decades-long friend of Mr Trump, emerged in a report by CNN.

The US broadcaste­r quoted sources outlining claims made during a routine audit by the state department’s inspector general. In one incident reported by CNN, Mr Johnson is said to have pushed back on hosting an event for Internatio­nal Women’s Day by asking why he had to do “a feminist event”.

In another, ahead of a Black History Month event in 2018, Mr Johnson allegedly asked if the audience would be “a whole bunch of black people”.

CNN referenced three sources when reporting that Mr Johnson argued black fathers did not remain with their families and that this was the “real challenge”. Mr Johnson is also said to have hosted official gatherings at White’s, the centuries-old gentleman’s club in London, meaning women could not attend.

One diplomat with knowledge of the situation told CNN that Mr Johnson “said some pretty sexist, racist” things.

In a statement issued in Mr Johnson’s name, the ambassador did not directly contest the allegation­s, but called it an “honour of a lifetime” to serve as ambassador and said he leads a “talented, diverse team”. He said: “The staff of Embassy London and our three constituen­t consulates are the best in diplomacy”. He added that he “greatly” values their work.

A State Department official said Mr Johnson had led the embassy “honourably and profession­ally”.

Mr Johnson later tweeted: “I have followed the ethical rules and requiremen­ts of my office at all times. These false claims of insensitiv­e remarks about race and gender are totally inconsiste­nt with my long-standing record and values.”

The Daily Telegraph understand­s the complaints surfaced during a routine inspector general probe into the embassy which was launched late last year. The claims emerged the day after The New York Times reported Mr Johnson had tried to secure The Open golf championsh­ip for one of Mr Trump’s Scottish courses.

Mr Johnson reportedly said Mr Trump wanted the tournament at his Trump Turnberry resort and mentioned that to Lewis Lukens, then deputy US ambassador to the UK. Mr Lukens told The Telegraph that The New York Times report was accurate. The State Department did not address the claim directly in any of its comments.

Last night, Mr Trump denied that he had told Mr Johnson to try to get the British Open held at his Scottish golf course, saying he “never” discussed the matter with the ambassador.

 ??  ?? Complaints about Woody Johnson emerged in a state department investigat­ion of the London Embassy
Complaints about Woody Johnson emerged in a state department investigat­ion of the London Embassy

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