White House clarifies Biden's 'screw it up' swipe at Britain

White House clarifies Biden's 'screw it up' swipe at Britain

White House CLARIFIES Biden’s ‘screw it up’ swipe at Britain: Aides insist jab at why he was in Ireland wasn’t an attack on the UK after he skipped the coronation and was accused of being anti-British

  • White House says Biden appreciates PM Sunak’s work
  • ‘He deeply appreciates Prime Minister Sunak’s leadership in reaching an agreement with the EU on the Windsor Framework’
  • Sunak negotiated agreement on Northern Ireland trade post-Brexit
  • But Biden’s remark reupped concerns the president is ‘anti-British’ 

The White House on Thursday clarified President Joe Biden’s remark that he was in Ireland to keep the Brits from screwing around on the Good Friday Agreement, telling DailyMail.com that he ‘deeply appreciates’ Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s work on the issue.

Biden caused outage across the pond with his remarks Wednesday night at a Democratic fundraiser, where he said of his April trip to Ireland: ‘I got to go back to Ireland for the Irish Accords, to make sure they weren’t—the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.’

The off-hand comment resulted in fury among the British, who defended Sunak’s work in delicate post-Brexit trade negotiations. 

The White House didn’t see Biden’s remark as a dig at the prime minister.

White House had to clarify President Joe Biden’s remark that he was in Ireland to keep the Brits from screwing around on the Good Friday Agreement,

‘As the President said in Belfast, he deeply appreciates Prime Minister Sunak’s leadership in reaching an agreement with the EU on the Windsor Framework and preserving the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement,’ said National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge in a statement to DailyMail.com.

But the remark also reupped talk Biden is ‘anti-British’ after he made only a flying visit to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement last month, before an extensive tour of the Republic – where he often boasts of having roots.

He also provoked more anger by skipping the coronation of King Charles last weekend, instead sending First Lady Jill Biden. 

Asked about Biden’s remark, the PM official spokesman said: ‘You will know that, obviously, the Windsor Framework was a culmination of substantive work between the UK and the EU, and at its heart the UK priority was always protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

‘We have been consistent on that point throughout and we are pleased that between the UK and the EU we have been able to reach an agreement that works for the people of Northern Ireland, and for the whole of the UK.’

But Biden’s comment drew fire from the Democratic Unionists, the main pro-British party in Northern Ireland.

‘It’s unbelievable and frightening to think this man is the leader of the free world,’ said DUP spokesman Sammy Wilson. ‘If you believe that there should be a special relationship between the U.S. and U.K., then at least show us some respect.’ 

Biden has long cared about the Good Friday Agreement, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

The agreement helped end sectarian violence that had raged for three decades over whether Northern Ireland should unify with Ireland or remain part of the United Kingdom. 

Questions about the viability of the agreement arose in the days after Brexit, when Northern Ireland wanted to keep its trading status with the European Union. 

President Joe Biden met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when he was in Belfast

Some Brits were offended when President Biden sent Jill Biden to the London for coronation celebrations – above the first lady with PM Sunak

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met briefly with King Charles when he held a reception for world leaders at Buckingham Palace after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Biden put off making a long-wished for visit to Ireland until that diplomatic headache went away. 

It was resolved when Britain and the European Union agreed upon the Windsor Framework, paving the way for trade to make its way across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, essentially stayed in the European Union market, along with its neighbor the Republic of Ireland, an independent country, when Britain voted for to exit the E.U.

The Windsor Framework will keep goods moving without upending the Good Friday Agreement. The Belfast Agreement is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, because it was reached on Good Friday, 10 April 1998. It helped end 30 years of sectarian conflict on the island. 

Biden had urged British officials to protect the agreement as they hashed out post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland. 

His administration insisted that London respect the Northern Ireland Protocol, an agreement with the European Union that draws a customs border in the Irish Sea between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

British loyalists complained that protocol brings Northern Ireland closer to the neighboring Republic of Ireland. There are Protestant suspicions that the Catholic Biden favors a united Ireland, but the president has not publicly voiced support for such a move.

The White House has had to repeatedly defend Biden’s handling of the special, essential relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Biden pointedly didn’t meet with King Charles III during his time in Belfast – along Sunak flew over to Northern Ireland to greet the president.

And Biden called the king to tell him he wouldn’t attend his coronation but would send wife Jill instead. Their granddaughter Finnegan attended the ceremony with the first lady.

‘This is not a snub. The president has a good relationship with the king,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told DailyMail.com in April.

‘During that call the king offered for him to come and do a state visit, which the President accepted and so they will see each other again very soon,’ Jean-Pierre said. 

No timeline for that visit has been given. 

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