US National Security Advisor John Bolton is in the UK promising London trade deals after Brexit and throwing jabs at EU, arguing that European ‘elites’ treat voters as ‘peasants’ – the comment didn’t go over well on the continent.
Speaking to reporters in London on Monday evening after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Bolton laid into the European body, insisting that Brexit – Britain’s decision to leave the EU – be honored.
“The fashion in the European Union is when the people vote the wrong way from the way the elites want to go, is to make the peasants vote again and again until they get it right,” Bolton said.
Soon after 2016’s Brexit vote, many ‘Remain’ advocates in the UK and elsewhere began pushing for a second referendum, hoping to reverse the results of the first. Bolton, who’s always been a Brexit enthusiast echoed the sentiment of some British lawmakers and commentators, as well as many Brexiteers, who say a Brexit do-over would be undemocratic.
“There was a vote – everyone knew what the issues were,” Bolton continued. “It is hard to imagine that anyone in this country did not know what was at stake.”
The result is the way it was. That’s democracy.
Though some on the ‘Leave’ side hailed Bolton’s comments, many online found his “peasants” comparison offensive and rejected American interference in what is surely a European affair.
“John Bolton calling us peasants!!!!! Do we want the UK to be sold to the US? When Trump speaks of Europeans like this. Anger just does not cover it. I am fuming. UK wake up!!!!”tweeted an enraged Remainer, while one Briton remarked that “if anyone treats their people like peasants, it’s the Trump administration.”
Another commenter from the American side of the pond responded by observing: “Unlike here in the USA where the Dems just keep ‘finding’ ballots until they reach the desired result.”
Bolton is a longtime critic of the EU, often referring to the body’s diplomats as “EUroids” and writing in his 2007 memoir that the institution prefers an “endless process of diplomatic mastication” over practical problem solving.
European Commission spokesperson Vanessa Mock declined to respond to Bolton’s charge of an undemocratic EU, stating “We have no comment to make … whatsoever.”
In his trade talks with PM Johnson, Bolton offered to soften the British exit with a unilateral trade deal with the US, which he said could be agreed to “in pieces,” instead of taking on all issues at once. He added that such a deal would likely enjoy bipartisan support in the US Congress and predicted that each stage would be approved quickly, without much debate.
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