(CNSNews.com) – Fielding reporters’ questions Wednesday focused largely on President Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended both the United States and its current administration, pointing to its robust support for Britain after Russian agents used a deadly nerve agent in an attempt to kill a former Russian spy on British soil.
A number of questions directed at Johnson at his press conference wrapping up the NATO summit included snide references to Trump, and the prime minister showed little patience for them.
“Do you believe that as a leader and as a man, that Donald Trump is good for the West and good for Britain?” the first questioner asked. “And if so, why?”
Johnson began his reply by saying the U.S. has been a “massive contributor to NATO, has been for 70 years a pillar of stability for our collective security.”
Then he recalled that, after the attempted assassination in Salisbury last year of Sergei Skripal, the Trump administration had expelled 60 Russian diplomats – suspected spies – in solidarity with Britain.
“That was a fantastic testament, I think, to the transatlantic alliance,” he said.
Johnson contrasted the U.S. response to “the posture taken by the leader of the opposition” – Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn – whom he said had thought that Britain should “comply with the wishes of Moscow and send them [nerve agent] samples for checking.”
“America stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us then, has been done for decades, and is an invaluable ally, and continues to be so.”
“Let’s be clear,” Johnson added. “This was under the current U.S. administration, and they were shoulder-to-shoulder with us, and could not have been more supportive.”
Skripal and his daughter survived deliberate exposure to the nerve agent although an unrelated woman died. The Kremlin denies involvement in the attack.
Apart from expelling the Russian officials, the U.S. also imposed sanctions in Moscow in August last year, and then added a second round in August of 2019
During the press conference, Johnson was asked twice about a video clip showing himself, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and several others chatting in a group, apparently joking about Trump. He dismissed the question as “complete nonsense.”
Johnson was later asked by a HuffPost U.K. reporter about Trump having said he doesn’t know Britain’s Prince Andrew, despite evidence that they have met (as recently as during the president’s state visit to Britain last summer.)
“Do you think President Trump is an amnesiac or a serial liar?” the reporter asked.
Johnson described the question as falling “under the general category of a good effort to drag in something that I think is totally extraneous to our dealings here today.”
“This is about strengthening the NATO alliance,” he said. “We’ve had a very successful meeting, and a very successful meeting of NATO leaders on the 70th anniversary of NATO. And none of those subjects – I can tell you with absolute confidence – none of those subjects was mentioned in any of the sessions, nor to the best of my knowledge, in any of the bilateral meetings that have taken place.”
Prince Andrew is at the center of a major scandal over claims he had sex with a 17-year-old woman trafficked by financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead inside his federal jail cell in Manhattan last August.
Andrew stepped down from his royal duties last month amid a deepening controversy over his friendship with Epstein.
When Trump was asked about the matter during a press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday, he replied, “I don’t know Prince Andrew. But it’s a – that’s a tough story. That’s a very tough story. I don’t know him.”
As he flew back to Washington at the end of the summit, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO.”
He added that he had got along well with the other leaders, and noted that America’s NATO allies have boosted their defense spending significantly.