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Brash Former London Mayor Boris Johnson Named British Foreign Secretary

Former London Mayor and Brexit backer Boris Johnson will now represent his country on international affairs.
Image: Boris Johnson
Vote Leave campaign leader Boris Johnson leaves his home in London on June 29, 2016.PAUL HACKETT / Reuters
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Former London Mayor and Brexit backer Boris Johnson — who once called President Obama "hypocritical" and "perverse" — will now represent his country on international affairs.

Johnson was named Britain's foreign secretary by Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday — on her first day in office.

He has never before held a cabinet-level job, and will now be responsible for guiding Britain through its complicated new relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.

Former London mayor and pro-Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson leaves his home in London on Monday.BEN STANSALL / AFP - Getty Images

British voters chose to leave the European Union last month, a triumph for a campaign that Johnson helped lead.

Johnson parried with Obama in April, when the president wrote an op-ed in a British newspaper urging voters to stay in the EU.

Johnson wrote a retort in another newspaper criticizing Obama for inserting himself into British affairs. "It is very odd, it is perverse, it is hypocritical," Johnson told reporters.

After Brexit's triumph, Johnson, 52, was considered a front runner to become prime minister. But he took himself out of the running.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday that the Obama administration was committed to working with the British no matter who is foreign secretary.

"We look forward to engaging with Boris Johnson," Toner said.

May also announced on Wednesday that David Davis would serve in the new position of secretary of state for exiting the European Union.

Abigail Williams , Reuters and The Associated Press contributed.