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Story highlights

Boris Johnson appointed new UK Foreign Secretary

He has a history of insulting foreign leaders and peoples

(CNN) —  

After just two weeks in the political wilderness, Boris Johnson is back.

The response to the decision by new UK Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint Johnson Foreign Secretary has been largely one of shock, even among the former London Mayor’s supporters. Johnson actively campaign for the UK to leave the European Union – May was a Remainer – and backed her rival to be Conservative Party leader.

There was also the unlikeliness of making Johnson – who has a history of insulting foreign leaders and overseas gaffes – Britain’s chief diplomat.

“Dear world … sorry,” read the headline of the UK’s Daily Mirror in the wake of Johnson’s appointment, while U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner seemed to smile with disbelief when he was given the news at a press conference (before hurriedly restoring his expression to a more diplomatic neutrality).

Others greeted the news with mockery and outrage, with many highlighting Johnson’s embarrassing flubs at home and abroad – like when he got stuck on a zip line or tackled a 10-year-old – and his numerous insulting comments about foreigners.

Johnson’s first full day in his new office starts on Thursday.