- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was labeled “Trumpian” by a senior European Union figure after comparing Britain’s Brexit struggles to the Hulk smashing out of his chains.
- “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” Johnson told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
- EU figures accused Johnson of failing to take the Brexit crisis seriously.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been labeled “Trumpian” and “infantile” by a senior European Union figure after comparing Britain leaving the EU to the Hulk smashing out of his chains.
Ahead of his meeting on Monday with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, Johnson told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that the country would break out of the “manacles” of the EU under his leadership, adding that “the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets.”
Johnson has insisted that he will take the UK out of the EU by the October 31 deadline, with or without a deal governing terms of the withdrawal, despite members of British Parliament passing a law that could compel him to seek a third delay to Brexit.
Johnson’s comparison was described by one senior EU figure as “infantile.”
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” the European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, tweeted.
“Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed? Is this Boris Johnson whistling in the dark?”
—Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) September 15, 2019
Another EU source accused Johnson of ignoring the crisis facing Britain.
“It all makes it look like it’s a bit of a joke,” the source told The Guardian.
“We are talking about something extremely serious. The consequences of no deal will be extremely serious and it looks like this is being treated as a game in which you are the hero sort of story rather than [dealing] with real lives.”
Johnson’s comments also drew the ire of Mark Ruffalo, the actor who has played the Hulk.
“Boris Johnson forgets that the Hulk only fights for the good of the whole,” Ruffalo tweeted alongside an image of the Mail on Sunday front page. “Mad and strong can also be dense and destructive. The Hulk works best when he is in unison with a team, and is a disaster when he is alone. Plus…he’s always got Dr. Banner with science and reason.”
—Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) September 15, 2019
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay also attracted ridicule for remarks comparing Johnson’s handling of Brexit to the Hulk. He said on Sunday that the fictional superhero was “a winner and extremely popular.”
Johnson asks Juncker to meet him in the middle
Johnson is expected on Monday to ask Juncker to “meet him halfway” on Brexit, according to the Sun newspaper.
A UK government source told the newspaper that Johnson would ask the European Commission president to give ground on Europe’s opposition to removing the Northern Ireland backstop from the withdrawal agreement.
Johnson has insisted that he will oppose any deal containing the backstop, which would at least temporarily keep the UK within EU trade and customs rules to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“What’s the point in us putting down a grand plan just for them to rip it up in front of us?” the UK government source told the paper. “This has to be a mutual process and that’s what the meeting with Juncker will be about.”
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Ahead of their meeting, Juncker dismissed the prospects of renegotiating a deal with the UK.
Renegotiating the deal “will not be possible,” Juncker told the German newspaper Deutschlandfunk.
“We’ll have to consider which agreements are conceivable for the future that are not connected with the content and substance of the withdrawal agreement,” he said.
One Brussels source told Business Insider that recent reports in Britain that Johnson was moving closer to reaching a revised deal with the EU were “total s— from Westminster sources.”
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