#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 18 May 2021
Advertisement

'Warmest congratulations': Leaders from Ireland and around the world welcome Biden election

Taoiseach Micheál Martin offered his congratulations to Biden following his win.

Joe Biden delivers a keynote speech in the grounds of Dublin Castle in June 2016
Joe Biden delivers a keynote speech in the grounds of Dublin Castle in June 2016
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

WORLD LEADERS HAVE welcomed Joe Biden’s election as US president as a chance to enhance cooperation on climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues after four years of Donald Trump’s rejection of international alliances.

Trump had yet to concede defeat, but Western and Asian allies expressed hoped for a fresh start following his “America first” trade policies, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and attacks on Nato and the World Health Organisation.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin offered his congratulations to Biden following his win.

Martin said that he wanted to offer the “warmest congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as the 46th President of the United States”.

“Ireland takes pride in Joe Biden’s election, just as we are proud of all the generations of Irish women and Irish men and their ancestors whose toil and genius have enriched the diversity that powers America,” Martin said. 

This is a particularly special day for the people of County Louth and of County Mayo who count President-elect Biden among their own.
“Joe Biden has always been a stalwart friend and supporter of Ireland, including of the prosperity, stability and opportunity made possible by the Good Friday Agreement, to which he has pledged his ongoing steadfast support.

“I also wish to congratulate Kamala Harris on her election as Vice-President and recognise the tremendous significance of her election to the role,” he said.

“I am greatly looking forward to working with the new Administration in the period ahead in progressing international peace and security.”

“I also intend to work closely with the new Administration and the United States Congress to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is so important to tens of thousands of Irish people making a significant contribution to America.” 

President Michael D. Higgins said that “I have conveyed my best wishes to President-elect Joe Biden, wishing him and the American people every good fortune for his term in office and congratulating him, and congratulating Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her historic achievement”.

“Sabina and I, and the staff at Áras an Uachtaráin, have the warmest memories of Joe Biden’s two visits to us,” Higgins said.

Abroad

In Asia, a region on edge about the strategic ambitions of China’s ruling Communist Party, the elected leaders of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan invoked “shared values” with Washington and expressed hope for close relations.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” said Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga on Twitter.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said he looked forward to working together “for our shared values”.

There was no immediate official reaction from Beijing, which is mired in conflicts with the Trump administration over trade, security and technology.

But Chinese social media users welcomed the change. A post on the Sina Weibo microblog service, signed Gong Teng Xin Yi, said: “Congratulating Biden, the old friend of Chinese people on winning the election.”

After Trump said he won “by a lot,” the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily responded on Twitter, “HaHa”.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as part of its territory, expressed hope to “further our friendship”.

Biden had congratulated Tsai on her re-election in January, saying Taiwan is “stronger because of your free and open society”. Washington has no formal relations with Taiwan, but Mr Trump raised the profile of informal contacts by sending Cabinet officials to the island, an act that irritated Beijing.

There was also no immediate reaction from Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was friendly with Trump. Other leaders who supported Trump, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, congratulated Biden, indicating they rejected Trump’s claim the election wasn’t over.

Most Western allies welcomed a fresh start with Washington. Many have been dismayed at Trump’s criticism of decades-old military and economic alliances.

“We want to work in our cooperation for a new trans-Atlantic beginning, a New Deal,” said German foreign minister Heiko Maas on Twitter.

Others expressed hope Biden might revive co-operation on health, climate and other issues following Trump’s rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and pressure on Canada, Mexico, South Korea and other partners to renegotiate trade terms.

“I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together,” said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was the target of personal insults from Trump.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia told reporters he looked forward to a “great partnership” with Washington. He cited challenges including the coronavirus and “ensuring a free and open” Indo-Pacific region, a reference to China’s disputes with its neighbours over control of vast tracts of ocean.

“American leadership is indispensable to meeting these challenges,” Morrison said.

Former US President George W Bush said he spoke to Biden and Harris to wish the new administration congratulations.

“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said.

“I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard fought campaign. He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans – an extraordinary political achievement. They have spoken, and their votes will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government,” he said.

Bush said that the “fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted”.

“President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated.

The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan said he looked forward to working together to end illegal tax havens and on peace-making in Afghanistan.

Other leaders who sent congratulations included German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

Embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his US-backed rival, Juan Guaido, both congratulated Biden and Harris. Maduro said Venezuela, which is under crippling US sanctions aimed at forcing him out of office, was “ready for dialogue and understanding” with the United States.

The election outcome drew mixed reviews in Iraq, where Biden is remembered as a champion of the US invasion in 2003. Still, Iraqi president Barham Salih described Biden as a friend and trusted partner.

Congratulations also poured in from leaders who got along with Trump but ignored his claims the election was not over.

The Philippines’ Duterte, who had said Filipino-Americans would “get the best deal with Trump”, expressed hope for enhanced ties based on “shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law”.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, who was close to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, extended his best wishes to Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris on Twitter.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who has been known for public displays of bonhomie with Trump, shared a photo of himself with Biden and offered his congratulations “on your spectacular victory!”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, another Trump ally, said he looked forward to “working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security”.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Harris’s election inspired calls in parts of Africa for more women in government.

“The time has also come to give our women the chance to occupy such a high office in our country and even the number one position,” said a Nigerian cabinet minister, Festus Keyamo, on Twitter.

Others expressed hope Biden will help to heal divisions in American society and global politics.

“He seems open to accepting people’s different viewpoints and wants to move forward in a united manner,” said Mika Goto, a nursery school employee in Tokyo.

Silence

While outspoken disappointment was scarce, several prominent leaders who have maintained warm relations with Trump’s administration kept silent.

That included President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would wait “until all the issues are resolved”.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Twitter profile photo shows him sitting beside Trump, described Biden as a friend of Israel and said he looked forward to working with him and Harris to “strength the special alliance” between their countries. In a separate statement, he thanked Trump for raising US-Israeli relations to “unprecedented heights”.

Many people, particularly in nations with turbulent politics, took Biden’s win as improving the outlook for respect of democracy.

Among them was Tanzanian opposition leader Zitto Kabwe, who was arrested and charged with terrorism-related offences after his country’s bruising presidential election.

“This victory symbolises the hope for democracy at a time when many other parts of the world are seeing that light diminishing,” KMr abwe said.

The outcome inspired disbelief in Slovenia, the homeland of first lady Melania Trump. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only leader who congratulated Trump even before all votes were counted and showed support after Biden’s win was announced.

About the author:

Press Association

Read next:

COMMENTS (35)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel