Leave it to Joe to make the Brits mad

This weekend, we learned our latest lesson about what happens when Joe Biden’s handlers allow him to off of the script. 

Like me, you may have thought that Biden’s recent trip to Ireland was just a free vacation on the taxpayer’s dime so he could look at castles. But according to recent comments Biden made at a fundraiser, he was studying the political situation in Great Britain and particularly in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where relations have been strained amid post-Brexit trade discussions. 

Amazingly, Biden told people at the fundraiser that he had been over there “making sure the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.” Needless to say, when officials in Great Britain heard about this, many of them were simply aghast. 

From Politico:

Joe Biden said he traveled to Northern Ireland last month “to make sure the Brits didn’t screw around” with the region’s peace process — a blunt take that drew gasps from U.K. and unionist politicians.

The remarks, contained in a White House transcript of the U.S. president’s remarks at a Democratic Party fundraiser, clash with his carefully worded speech April 12 in Belfast marking the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-brokered Good Friday peace accord. Biden started his four-day visit throughout the island of Ireland in the Northern Irish capital, where tensions over post-Brexit trade rules have torn apart the region’s unity government.

According to the transcript, Biden told party supporters at a private New York residence that he had visited Belfast “to make sure they weren’t — the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.”

UK politicians immediately began expressing some views that didn’t sound like the “special relationship” was quite as special this week. Parliament Member Sammy Wilson was quoted as saying, “It’s unbelievable and frightening to think this man is the leader of the free world.” (For what it’s worth, Sammy, there are plenty of us on this side of the pond who have been saying the same thing.) He went on to exclaim, “If you believe that there should be a special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K., then at least show us some respect.”

The leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party was a bit more charitable to Biden’s “Brit-bashing.” She pointed out that he’s “always been slightly gaffe-prone,” but said she would judge him by his actions and not his gaffes. Another MP named Shailesh Vara said that it was “deeply regrettable that President Biden has to use such language to further his reelection chances in the U.S.” (Ouch)

I would say I was shocked if this was something new for Biden, but it’s not. We have been losing allies and international partners ever since Biden took office. We’ve covered them all here and there are too many to list. Given his history, nobody was expecting Joe Biden to be a foreign policy genius, but this has been more of a trainwreck than even the most pessimistic probably expected.

Thankfully, it would certainly take a lot more than this to completely break the partnership between the United States and the U.K. But if we give this confused fossil enough time, he just might manage the feat.

So we should ask ourselves what was going on behind the scenes at that fundraiser. Was Biden really going off-script or did someone write that for him? If it’s the latter, then something far more threatening is going on. But that seems like a bit of a stretch even for me. If not, is that a position regarding the tense situation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that Biden actually holds? Or was it just too late in the day and Uncle Joe randomly blurted out something regretable? Let’s be honest here. Both answers are frightening. I’m no longer 100% sure our country can even last for another twenty months of this.