Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, has embarked on his visit to the United Kingdom, in a bid to boost his foreign policy profile. However, it did not go exactly to plan.
When interviewed by NBC’s Brian Williams, he undiplomatically questioned London’s ability to organise a successful games, saying, “There were a few things that were disconcerting. It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.” He was referring to the problems London 2012 has had with security as well as the threat of impending strikes.
Romney has some experience of his own when it comes to organising Olympic events, after he turned the tide of the 2012 winter games held in Salt Lake City, when they were not going to plan.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, has hit back at the remarks claiming that, “Of course it is easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere”. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also responded by shouting out to the crowds that filled Hyde Park on Thursday, “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!”
Romney has since tried to compensate for his comments, saying that it was inevitable that mistakes would occur but he “applauded the work of organisers”. He added that these mistakes would be overshadowed by the “courage, character and determination of the athletes” and predicted a “very successful” Olympics.
Opinion on the effects of Romney’s trip back in the US is divided. Republican supporters do not seem to be worried about knock-on effects, with the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, stating that, “We’re not worried about overseas headlines, we’re worried about voters here at home in America.” However, Democratic senate majority leader, Harry Reid, told the Huffington Post that, “It’s not good for us as a country- it’s not good for him- but as a country to have somebody that’s nominated by one of the principal parties to go over and insult everybody.”
If only Romney’s mishaps had stopped there. When speaking to Labour leader, Ed Miliband, he addressed him as “Mr. Leader” arousing speculation that he had forgotten his name. He also announced that he had met with Britain’s head of foreign intelligence agency, MI6. It has been suggested that the agency are not happy with such a disclosure.
It is not the first time that Romney has slighted the British. In his book ‘No Apology’, he reflected on why nations rise and fall, referring to the UK as “just a small island” saying that, “It’s roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that the rest of the world wants to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions.”
The remarks have sparked Twitter trends such as #Romneyshambles #Mitthitsthefan and #Americanborat.
Romney is now in Israel, where it is hoped his visit will be more successful, before he heads off to Poland on Monday.
He challenges Obama for the US Presidency in November.