Is Biden’s Hatred of the English Showing on His Ireland Trip?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Joe Biden has made a big deal about his Irish heritage for decades now — at least when he’s not trying to cozy up to black people, Jewish people, or Puerto Ricans — so his trip to Ireland as president this week is probably a highlight of his life and career.

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But is this trip taking place to the detriment of the “special relationship” that the U.S. has with the UK? After all, if we are to believe Biden, his family has a legacy of hating the British. Television producer and writer Georgia Pritchett recounted in her autobiography meeting Biden when he was vice president and him telling her how much his mother, Catherine Finnegan, “hated the English.” (Pritchett is English.)

Irish Central picks up the agonizing story:

Biden allegedly said his mother had written several poems outlining her dislike of the English, according to Pritchett’s autobiography.

“He went off to find them and returned with hundreds of poems describing how God must smite the English and rain blood on our heads,” Pritchett wrote in the autobiography.

Biden then reportedly told her that his mother chose to sleep on the floor while staying in a hotel that Queen Elizabeth II had stayed in as she did not want to sleep in the same bed that the Queen had slept in.

Another moment last year, when a BBC reporter asked Biden for “a quick word,” revealed his Irish bias:

It was clearly the president’s attempt at a joke, but both accounts make clear that Joe Biden is no Anglophile. There’s nothing wrong with loving one’s Irish heritage or having an affinity for the Emerald Isle, but as president, Biden should keep the American “special relationship” with the UK in mind when he travels there.

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History beyond family stories and cutesy media remarks bears this out. Going all the way back to his days in the Senate, Biden sided with Irish Republicans over American UK allies, much like other Democrats did.

“Throughout the Troubles, Biden voiced support for the Irish cause and sometimes took action in the Senate,” reported Politico in 2021. “In 1985, he opposed an extradition treaty with Britain that would have affected members of the Irish Republican Army who had fled to the United States. Taking issue with the British administration of justice in Northern Ireland, he helped force the GOP to water down the agreement.”

Our British allies were also miffed that Biden didn’t loop them in on the Afghanistan withdrawal, “during which Biden gave no advance notice to our number one fighting partner and refused even to take Boris Johnson’s urgent telephone calls about the matter,” as Lee Cohen writes at Spectator World.

Related: ‘Dementia Joe’ Needs Hunter to Help Him Answer a Question from… a Child?

All of this brings us to this week’s trip. Biden is spending roughly 15 hours in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought about an uneasy peace between the UK and Ireland.

The trip has gotten off to a somewhat inauspicious beginning. For starters, when the president arrived, he appeared to brush Prime Minister Rishi Sunak aside to salute a guard. Was it subtle racism, since Sunak is “brown”? Was Biden snubbing the Tory PM over political differences? Was the whole deal a misunderstanding? We’ll never know, but it was certainly an awkward moment.

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Biden also brought along his son, Hunter. Now, since part of the trip involves visiting some family and ancestral points of interest, there’s something sweet and special about the president bringing his son along. But when that son is, well, Hunter Biden, it’s a little more complicated.

On Spectator World‘s Americano podcast, Lewis Lukens, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, told guest host Amber Athey that having Hunter Biden on the trip “creates a distraction,” adding that “it does create an opening for journalists and people to sort of ask questions about Hunter Biden, given his presence on the trip.”

While it’s true that Biden will spend more extended time with Sunak at a later date, it’s telling that he spent barely half a day on the UK side of the island and is spending the bulk of the trip in the Republic of Ireland. As Cohen points out, Biden grew up “steeped in the exaggerated but dated folklore of Irish grudge.” And while Biden may not say it outright — as he did to the BBC or to Georgia Pritchett — he is making his Irish favoritism and British loathing clear.

“The Democrats’ Ireland posture would be bad enough in isolation toward a country of lesser significance to the U.S. than the UK,” Cohen writes. “But the bias and Britain-bashing of their foreign policy is alarmingly contrary to the best interests of the U.S.”

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It’s true. Biden needs to let his petty, silly Irish grudges go and make overtures in favor of the “special relationship” — because he can still be Irish and respect the British as an American ally. The president has done much to weaken our international standing; he doesn’t need to screw this alliance up, too.

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