John Oliver thinks “there is no reason for much hope” that Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson negotiates a Brexit deal within 100 days as promised, saying his “depressingly effective,” “bumbling” charm isn’t going to help him this time.
“Given that Britain’s new leader is a clownish figure with silly hair and a passing relationship with the truth, you may already be thinking of the person you’re almost always thinking about anyway,” Oliver said on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” referencing President Trump while opening his rant about Johnson, who he describes as “a cartoon Englishman who dresses like a raccoon who just emerged from David Foster Wallace’s trash.”
“That has been the root of Boris’ appeal: a lovable mess weathering adversity with humor and good cheer. But the truth is, there may be a great deal more calculation behind that image than appears,” Oliver added.
The HBO late-night host went on to show a number of instances in which Johnson’s appearance or comments seemed foolish, while suggesting “the possibility that his gaffes are in fact calculated manipulations.”
“Once you realize what he’s doing, it makes you question everything that you’ve previously found charming about him.”
Oliver added that, “beneath all of Boris’ surface charm are some truly nasty elements.”
“He’s made repeated references to some immigrants as people who want to ‘leech off the state'; over the years, he’s made references to ‘piccaninnies;’ he said the people of Congo had ‘watermelon smiles;’ he’s called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys;’ and just last week, there was this,” Oliver said, showing a clip of Johnson saying women in burqas “looked like letterboxes” and “bank robbers.”
“That is an appalling comment that leaves a truly disgusting taste in your mouth,” Oliver said.
The “Last Week Tonight” host then said that the politician’s “bumbling charm may work wonders in low stakes situations, but that’s not where he is now” with the Brexit deal negotiations and his only “hope of avoiding complete catastrophe is through focus, discipline and detail — but those are three Achilles’ heels of his.”
“That lack of attention to detail for a process that has the potential to impact millions of people is really alarming, and there is no reason for much hope here, because all of the skills that have helped Johnson to become prime minister will not paper over all of the deficits that are going to make him terrible at that job,” Oliver said.
Watch the clip above.