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Joe Biden torn apart over 'insulting' attack on UK behind closed doors

NewsJoe Biden torn apart over 'insulting' attack on UK behind closed doors

President Joe Biden has landed himself in hot water for claiming he visited Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in order to make sure “the Brits didn’t screw around” with it.

The Democrat was in Northern Ireland in April, appearing at the Agreement 25 conference in the nation’s capital, marking the signing of the historic agreement a quarter of a century ago.

A pact was signed that saw self-government restored to the country, with an agreement also manufactured to help ease tension between the north and south of Ireland, and between Ireland and the UK.

The US was influential in the pact, with the agreement among the highlights of Bill Clinton’s time in the White House.

But comments made by Mr Biden on the divisive topic will no doubt infuriate those involved, particularly Britons who the American took a swipe at.

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Mr Biden spoke to insiders about his trip to Northern Ireland, and why it was important he attended on the anniversary.

In the handout, the 80-year-old told donors at a fundraising party in New York: “But all kidding aside, the basic fundamental values that I find is that most ethnic communities are similar.

“And one of the things – I got to go back – not what I had planned on talking about, but I got to go back to Ireland for – 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 gaffe, reported by the Daily Mail’s James Franey, sparked fury online.

One wrote: “We are the US’s closest ally in Europe, both economically and militarily.

“His insistence on self-IDing as Irish based on one Irish great-great-great grandparent and then using that to have a go at us is embarrassing and the height of cringe.”

Another added: “I agree with his comments on the UK Government, although [Prime Minister Rishi] Sunak appears genuine on Northern Ireland, a few months before they were threatening to break international law.”

While on the trip to Northern Ireland last month, which also saw him meet Mr Sunak, Mr Biden spoke of how Belfast must “not go back” to the violence before the agreement.

During his first presidential visit to the country, Mr Biden added: “The simple truth is that peace and economic opportunity go together.”

He added: “Where barbed wire once sliced up the city, today we find a cathedral of learning, built of glass.”

Less than 24 hours after Biden’s appearance he moved to the Republic of Ireland.

While there he spoke to the Dublin parliament, attended a gala dinner and took two trips to ancestral hometowns.

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