Europe

A Friend of Obama Who Could Soon Share the World Stage With Trump

Few British politicians have American ties as deep as those of David Lammy, who is set to become Britain’s foreign secretary if the opposition Labour Party wins the coming election, as the polls suggest it will.

A son of Guyanese immigrants who grew up poor in working-class London, he spent summers with relatives in Brooklyn and Queens, working at Con Edison, before earning a master’s degree at Harvard Law School and befriending Barack Obama, for whom he canvassed in Chicago during his first presidential campaign.

Yet now, on the cusp of becoming Britain’s chief diplomat, Mr. Lammy finds himself facing an uncertain, even potentially hostile, American political landscape. President Biden and the Democrats, with whom Mr. Lammy has cultivated a deep network of contacts, are fighting to hold off a resurgent Donald J. Trump.

Having been chosen by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, partly because of his trans-Atlantic credentials, Mr. Lammy, 51, is scrambling to build ties with Republicans and, more challengingly, with those around Mr. Trump. It’s a very different American establishment from the Democratic one he knows so well.

Would Mr. Lammy pay a visit to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach estate, as David Cameron, Britain’s current foreign secretary, did two weeks ago to lobby the former president on military aid to Ukraine?

“Of course,” he said in an interview this week in Portcullis House, the parliamentary office building across the street from Big Ben. Noting that he was headed soon to New York and Washington, he said, “I’m happy to talk to whomever the American people decide they want to run the country.”

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