Wednesday, December 2

Allies acknowledge Biden’s win even as Trump refuses to budge


Washington (CNN) — America’s closest allies are calling to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden even as President Donald Trump refuses to grant the presidential election.

Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday; the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; the taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, Micheál Martin, and the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, according to Biden’s transition team. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that he had called Biden to congratulate him on his victory.

Trump has yet to concede publicly and continues to make unsubstantiated claims of election rigging and fraud. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders in Congress are following the president’s lead and have failed to recognize Biden as the winner.

Biden said Tuesday that he believes Trump’s refusal to concede is a “disgrace” and damages the president’s legacy.

“I know from my discussions with foreign leaders so far that they are hopeful that America’s democratic institutions will once again be seen as strong and durable,” Biden said. “But I believe that, at the end of the day, it will all come true on January 20, and between now and then, my hope and expectation is that the American people know and understand that there has been a transition.”

Difficult transition

The president’s refusal to accept his defeat has stalled the steps necessary for the transition from government to Biden. With no formal transition underway, foreign leaders have called former Obama diplomats to obtain contact information for Biden’s team to call and congratulate him. This rather than using State Department channels, according to diplomatic officials familiar with how foreign governments approach a new administration.

Trump’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Tuesday refused to accept Biden’s victory, saying there would be “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Pompeo will travel to the Middle East and meet with several leaders who have already congratulated Biden and recognized him as president-elect.

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In a clear departure from Trump’s foreign policy and isolationist worldview, Biden’s calls with foreign leaders focused on strengthening ties abroad and addressing global challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis, with the help from allies. All of his calls on Tuesday to foreign leaders mentioned the pandemic, the global climate crisis and the global economic recovery, according to information given by Biden’s transition team.

Biden and Macron

The president-elect told Macron that he wanted to revitalize bilateral and transatlantic relations, including through NATO and the European Union. They spoke about human rights and building global health security. And Biden expressed his willingness to work to address security and development in Africa, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and Iran’s nuclear program.

Macron tweeted a photo of what appears to be himself speaking on the phone with Biden and wrote: “We will have much to do together to promote shared priorities – climate, global health, international security – and effective multilateral action.

Strengthen ties with Germany

Biden also told Merkel that he hoped to strengthen ties between the United States and Germany. And he expressed appreciation for the opportunity to cooperate on a shared agenda with the EU.

They spoke about the global challenges of containing the pandemic, driving a global economic recovery and addressing the climate crisis.

Good Friday Agreement

In his call with Martin, Biden reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement. It ended decades of deadly sectarian violence in Ireland and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Martin tweeted that he had a “warm and friendly call” with Biden. He praised the president-elect, saying that he “brings tremendous knowledge and understanding to his new role, and that he has a great love for his Irish heritage.”

He said they had talked about the importance of the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, of which Trump had announced that the United States was withdrawing. He invited Biden and future first lady Jill Biden to Ireland to “properly mark his success.”

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Call with Johnson

Biden and Johnson spoke for about 25 minutes, and someone with knowledge of the call described it as friendly.

Biden told Johnson that he looks forward to working closely on global challenges. The UK is gearing up to host the 2021 G-7 and the UN Climate Change Conference.

They spoke about the pandemic and global health security, pursuing a sustainable economic recovery, combating climate change and strengthening democracy, among other topics. Biden expressed an interest in comparing priorities shared with the UK, NATO and the EU.

Macron tweeted that he and Biden had talked about working together on a number of topics, including the climate crisis, pandemic, trade, energy, NATO, racism, and the detention in China of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian consultant. Michael Spavor.

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