Joe Biden phoned Boris Johnson a week after the election, while rumors were circulating that the British Prime Minister was not “at the top of the list” of people to whom the elected president would address himself.
It was reported that after years of hostility from Donald Trump, Biden would first try to build bridges to EU leaders, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the top of the list, according to the Daily Mail. If there was an appeal between either leader and Biden, it was not made publicly.
But it seems that Johnson was not snubbed after all, although it remains unclear whether Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union was mentioned in his congratulatory telephone call. The Prime Minister wrote on Twitter: “I have just spoken to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election. I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and working with him on our common priorities – from tackling climate change and promoting democracy to better post-pandemic reconstruction.
The only other world leader who said he had made personal contact with Biden since the announcement of his election victory on Saturday is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted on Monday: “I just spoke with @JoeBiden and congratulated him again on his election. We have worked together before and we are ready to take up this work and address the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries – including climate change and COVID-19.
“Today we talked about these specific challenges as well as trade, energy, NATO, anti-black racism and the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor by China. On these and other issues, President-elect @JoeBiden and I agreed to stay in touch and work closely together.
Biden has publicly criticized Johnson, whom he once called a “clone” of his electoral rival Trump. Both leaders have different views on brexite with a future trade agreement between the US and the UK yet to be sealed. Johnson’s Internal Market Bill, which would amend the law to ensure that goods after brexite can move easily between the four nations of Britain, would, by the government’s own admission, break international law by violating the provisions of the take-back agreement already agreed with the EU.
Critics say that it also threatens the Good Friday Agreement by threatening the protection from a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – something Biden says he will not agree to.
Although Biden was called as the winner of Saturday’s presidential election, it took three days for the two to make a phone call – raising fears about the “special relationship” on which Johnson will rely to reach an agreement with the US.
The Prime Minister congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris shortly after their victory over social media, but he did not do so personally until tonight. Regarding the post-Brexit trade talks with the US, Johnson said on Sunday that the “outlines” of an agreement were clear and that an agreement “had to come about”.