Joe Biden hopes for conciliatory tone on Northern Ireland in first meeting with Liz Truss


Joe Biden and Liz Truss have a lot to solve during their first meeting today at the UN General Assembly in New York.

It seems like everything the new prime minister is trying to do, Mr Biden is setting up a roadblock there. She tried to negotiate a trade deal, but Biden will not go into it during his first term.

Ms Truss plans to revise the Northern Ireland Protocol, and Mr Biden opposes it. On Tuesday, on top of the Empire State Building, Ms. Truss alluded to sweeping tax cuts, saying there was no doubt it would lead to economic growth.

Almost immediately, and perhaps coincidentally, the US president took to Twitter denouncing what he sees as the evils of “trickle-down economics”. Those policies, as pursued by Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, are a particular and frequent target of Mr Biden’s wrath in his speeches.

In his budget next year, he plans to do the exact opposite, raising taxes on corporations and the rich instead.

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However, despite the many apparent differences of opinion between the two leaders, officials in Washington say Mr. Biden will not make a hasty judgment about the future of the special relationship with Ms. Truss as prime minister, and are entering their meeting with an open mind.

A former senior White House official, in contact with current Biden advisers, said there was no loss of love for Boris Johnson in the West Wing.

Ms Truss had the chance to make a fresh start with Mr Biden, who will be “personally” against her.

“I think they will have a good personal relationship,” the former official said. “There is an opportunity to write a new chapter, at least on a personal, if not a policy level.”

Behind the scenes, officials of the Biden administration have expressed hope that the new prime minister has made statements in campaign mode that she is “recalibrating” now that she is at 10 Downing Street.

Her decision to publicly accept, on the eve of her meeting with Mr. Biden, that there will be no trade deal between the US and the UK for years to come was a case in point.

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The former White House official said, “That was a good move, a case study in the wide gap between what politicians say and what leaders do.”

Officials in the Biden administration were previously annoyed by what they saw as overly rosy statements by Ms. Truss about prospects for a trade deal when she was secretary of state.

They say it has always been made clear to London that Mr Biden’s hands were tied because the Trade Facilitation Authority [TPA]that allowed previous presidents to accelerate deals expired last year.

Getting a trade deal through Congress takes a lot of legislative time, which is needed for other domestic priorities.

For Mr Biden, the key to his relationship with Ms Truss will be Northern Ireland, and he will bring it up early in their meeting.

Officials expect him to speak at length and seize the opportunity to explain in detail to Ms Truss his personal affinity with Ireland and why he has such a strong sense of protocol.

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The former senior official suggested that the US hoped Ms. Truss would adopt a conciliatory tone on the matter.

It was a “personal one” for Mr. Biden, and not an area where the president was willing to be pragmatic, he said.

“I think the smartest thing she can do is to immediately start more dialogue between Britain and the US about Northern Ireland, which will instill more confidence,” the former senior official said.

“Even if her position doesn’t change dramatically, it would be helpful to show that she’s willing to have that conversation and participate.”

Biden officials expect to find a lot of common ground with Ms. Truss as a solid ally against Vladimir Putin and against China’s growing reach.

The post Joe Biden hopes for conciliatory tone on Northern Ireland in first meeting with Liz Truss appeared first on The Telegraph.


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