LONDON — In a strongly worded statement, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Woody Johnson called the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 a “dark day” for the country, and said rioters should be prosecuted.
Johnson, the multibillionaire owner of the New York Jets, is a major Republican party donor and friendly with Trump. He hosted the president and First Lady Melania Trump on a number of occasions at Winfield House, the U.S. ambassador’s official residence in London.
“Wednesday was a dark day for the United States. Like you, I watched the horrible scenes from Washington with profound concern and sadness. What happened at the Capitol does not represent who we are, or what we stand for as Americans. Those who participated and engaged in criminal acts should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our law.”
Unlike his boss, Johnson also congratulated President-elect Joe Biden.
“The United States Congress has certified the election, and Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20. I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris, and stand ready to do whatever is needed during this transition to ensure the U.S.-U.K. relationship remains the cornerstone of our shared security and shared prosperity.
“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our great American democracy. I wish the incoming administration and the President-elect well. As is the case for every administration, their success will be our country’s success. God bless America.”
Johnson made his statement 48 hours after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted a tweet about “disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,” and said America “stands for democracy around the world, and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
In his statement, the U.S. ambassador also thanked Trump for giving him the job. “It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as ambassador here, and I will be forever grateful to President Trump for entrusting me with this role.”
Johnson has served for a little over three years in the role, and was a generous host who supported U.K. businesses. He promoted trade between the two countries, even in the thick of the Airbus-Boeing WTO conflict, which saw the U.S. slap tariffs of 25 percent on British luxury goods such as cashmere sweaters and Savile Row wool suits.
In the short time he’s been in the U.K., Johnson also generated a few scandals of his own. He was the subject of a State Department investigation based on complaints from U.S. Embassy employees, who had accused him of inappropriate, insensitive comments that damaged morale among staff. The investigation found in the employees’ favor, but Johnson still kept his job.
Separately, he came under fire for allegedly trying to transfer the British Open, the oldest golf tournament in the world, to the Trump-owned Turnberry Golf Club and resort in Scotland — at Trump’s behest. The tournament usually rotates between a small group of coastal links golf courses in the U.K.