White House officials have refuted claims that Joe Biden is “anti-British” after the U.S. president was labelled as “pro-republican and pro-nationalist” by Northern Ireland’s former First Minister Arlene Foster.
Foster, the former leader of the pro-U.K. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), accused Biden on Tuesday of “hating” Britain, calling him the “the most partisan president there has ever been when dealing with Northern Ireland,” and accusing him of siding with the Republic of Ireland over the ongoing sovereignty dispute sparked by Brexit.
“The list goes on and on in relation to his dismissal of the British people living here in Northern Ireland,” Foster told GB News.
“He reveled in the fact that he told a story about his mother refusing to sleep in a bed because the late Majesty the Queen had slept in a bed, so it goes on and on.
“He hates the United Kingdom, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Foster added.
Biden visited the island of Ireland this week to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to decades of violence between Irish nationalists who fought for a single Irish state and unionists who wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Upon the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, a separate future arrangement was agreed for Northern Ireland due to it sharing a land border with the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU single market. The move flared tensions among unionists, who protested being treated differently from the rest of the U.K. and resulted in the DUP effectively collapsing the devolved government.
The latest amendment to what was known as the Northern Ireland Protocol has failed to appease pro-U.K. politicians in Northern Ireland who continue to refuse to engage in reinstating the devolved administration.
Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s chief whip in Westminster, said Biden’s visit would do little to persuade the DUP to walk back its current position, claiming the U.S. president “has got a record of being pro-republican, anti-Unionist, anti-British.” He warned Biden against “lecturing” the party about democracy, claiming the U.S. president “wouldn’t accept any interference in the affairs of America by outside bodies or outside governments and I don’t think he should expect us to respond to that either.”
Amanda Sloat, senior director for Europe at the U.S. National Security Council, dismissed the idea that Biden is anti-British as “simply untrue.”
“The fact that the president is going to be engaging for the third time in three months and then the next month and then again in June with the prime minister of the U.K. shows how close our cooperation is with the U.K.,” she added.
Biden is due to deliver a keynote speech at Ulster University later on Wednesday after meeting with Northern Irish political leaders.