Last week, President Joe Biden angered some British politicians in Northern Ireland after he said that he had to go to Ireland last month to make sure that “the Brits didn’t screw around” in their Brexit-era trade discussions with Northern Ireland, the UK Evening Standard reported.
The president made the comment as he was speaking about his trip to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement during a speech at a DNC reception in New York last Thursday.
Biden said he had to make the trip to Ireland to ensure that “the Brits didn’t screw around” and to ensure that Northern Ireland doesn’t walk away from its “commitments” in the Irish Accord.
In March, the UK and European Union adopted a new Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland called the Windsor Framework. However, last year, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland pulled out of the talks in protest over the post-Brexit trade rules for the country and has yet to return.
Northern Ireland’s former shadow minister Laurence Robertson told the Evening Standard that the president needs to remember that “Northern Ireland is British.” He suggested that politicians should always use “moderate, temperate language,” especially when they are speaking about other countries that deserve their respect.
Shailesh Vara, a former Northern Ireland secretary, called the president’s remarks “deeply regrettable,” telling the Standard that Biden only used this kind of language to boost his reelection chances in 2024.
The Brexit spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party, Sammy Wilson was more direct in his response to Biden’s remarks, telling the Standard that he found it “unbelievable and frighting” that Joe Biden is considered “the leader of the free world.”
Wilson added that if the American president believes in the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States, “then at least show us some respect.”