This week, President Joe Biden got into hot water with the Brits in Northern Ireland after he said that he had to attend the Irish Accords to make sure that “the Brits didn’t screw around” in their Brexit trade meetings with Northern Ireland, the UK Evening Standard reported.
The president made the off-the-cuff comment during his remarks at a DNC reception in New York on Thursday as he was speaking about his April trip to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Biden explained that he had to make the trip to Ireland to ensure that “the Brits didn’t screw around” and to keep Northern Ireland from walking away “from their commitments.”
In March, the UK and EU adopted a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland called the Windsor Framework. However, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, which pulled out of the talks last year in protest over the post-Brexit trade rules for the country, has yet to return.
Shailesh Vara, a former secretary from Northern Ireland, told the Evening Standard that the president’s remarks were “deeply regrettable,” suggesting that Biden chose to use this language to boost his chances in the 2024 election.
Former Northern Ireland shadow minister Laurence Robertson told the Standard that President Biden needs to remember that “Northern Ireland is British.” Robertson added that politicians should be using “moderate, temperate language,” especially when they are speaking about other countries that deserve their respect.
Sammy Wilson, the Brexit spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party, was more scathing in his response to Biden’s remarks, telling the Evening Standard that it is “unbelievable and frighting” to think Joe Biden is “the leader of the free world.” Wilson added that if Biden believes in the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, “then at least show us some respect.”