White House jabs London mayor over Brexit outburst

London Mayor Boris Johnson (C) delivers a statement to the media regarding his position on the forthcoming EU referendum outside his home in London on February 21 , 2016 (AFP Photo/Niklas Halle'n)

Washington (AFP) - The White House mocked Boris Johnson's accusations of "exorbitant hypocrisy" Monday, saying the United States had every right to weigh in on Britain's Brexit debate.

"Mayor Johnson has a well-established reputation for rhetorical flourishes," joked White House spokesman Josh Earnest, responding to an outburst from the loquacious London mayor.

"I think that's one of the reasons that many people in the United States have such a positive impression of him," he added sarcastically.

Johnson, who was born in New York, had said President Barack Obama's reported plan to visit Britain ahead of its June referendum on European Union membership was rich given America's "hysterical vigilance" about its own sovereignty.

Earnest countered that "the United States, because of our special relationship with the United Kingdom, benefits from a strong UK being a part of the European Union."

"That's an entirely reasonable observation for any US official to make about our own international national security interests."

Obama will visit Germany in April. The White House has yet to announce details of any additional stops.