He said, “When you are a journalist you think ‘great, great job...’
“But the trouble is that… sometimes you find yourself always abusing people or attacking people.
“Not that you want to abuse them or attack them but you are being critical …where maybe you feel sometimes a bit guilty about that, where maybe you have not put yourself in the place of the person you are criticising. And so I thought I would give it a go (politics).”
Johnson, who before his political career worked forThe Telegraph and The Times as a reporter and a columnist and also had a spell as the editor of The Spectator.
During this time, Johnson made wrote several comments which many now see as guilty of ‘attacking people’, including minority groups. And he wrote some of them long after he’d entered politics, too.
In a column for theDaily Telegraph, Johnson compared women wearing burqas to “letter boxes”.
In his reportedly £275,000-a-year column he wrote it was “absolutely ridiculous” that “people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes”.
He wrote: “If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled… to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly.
“If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.”
2. On the EU and the Nazis, The SundayTelegraph, 2016
In the build-up to the 2016 EU referendum, the prime minister opted to compare the EU and the Nazi Party. Johnson claimed that the past 2,000 years had seen failed attempts to recreate the “golden age” of the Roman Empire.
He wrote, “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.”
Long before she ran for president, Johnson had made some observations about Hillary Clinton. In a piece for the Telegraph, where Johnson said that he wanted her to be president, he said, “She represents, on the face of it, everything I came into politics to oppose: not just a general desire to raise taxes and nationalise things, but an all-round purse-lipped political correctness.”
He continued: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”
When meeting Clinton in 2015 in New York, Johnson dismissed the comments as lighthearted as the two appeared to make up. The then-mayor of London said, “Secretary Clinton was extremely kind and gracious and in so far as the subject came up she was said she was pleased by some aspects of the article.”
One of Johnson’s most controversial comments, which is frequently brought up was a piece he wrote about Tony Blair and a trip the then-prime minister made to Africa in 2002. In the piece he mentioned ‘watermelon smiles’ as well as calling Africans ‘piccaninnies.’
“What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.”
Johnson later apologised for the article and claimed the comments were taken ‘out of context.’
Another highly publicised comment from Johnson comes from 1998 in a column he wrote for the Telegraph on the recent resignation of MP Peter Mandelson’s from the Labour cabinet. In the original piece he wrote, “Weep, O ye shirt-makers of Jermyn Street, ye Cool Brittania tailors and whatever exists of human finer feeling. In the Ministry of Sound, the tank-topped bum boys blub into their Pils.”
As part of his Brexit campaign, Johnson wrote a piece forThe Sun where he claimed the UK would have a stronger relationship with the United States if it left the European Union.
However, in doing so he managed to conflate a debunked story about then-president Barack Obama removing a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House and also call Obama ‘part-Kenyan.’ He wrote, “The part-Kenyan president [has an] ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender’”