Last week, Secretary Blinken held a bilateral meeting with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the State Department, where their camaraderie was evident during the joint press conference.  However, concerns arose following President Biden’s remarks at a Democratic Party fundraiser on May 10, where he stated his visit to Belfast aimed to ensure that the “Brits didn’t screw around.”

The President’s comments triggered strong reactions from the Democratic Unionists, the primary pro-British party in Northern Ireland. Sammy Wilson criticized Biden’s remarks, expressing disbelief and concern over their perceived hostility towards unionists and lack of political coherence. Wilson emphasized the need for respect if the President genuinely supports a special relationship between the US and UK.

Even Naomi Long, leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party, expressed surprise at Biden’s comments, highlighting the distinction between engaging in constructive dialogue and resorting to “Brit-bashing” rhetoric.

During a press briefing today, Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, was asked by The Pavlovic Today about whether Secretary Blinken had engaged with the UK Government to provide reassurance following Biden’s remarks and if Blinken could confidently state that President Biden trusts the British Government.

“We absolutely trust the UK government,” reassured Patel. To back this up, he referred to the recent bilateral engagement between Secretary Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, as well as their joint press conference.

 “What you saw was two allies, two partners, engaging in collaborative discussions about the future,” Patel explained. He also pointed out that President Biden had expressed his “deep appreciation” for the United Kingdom’s government during his visit to Belfast, specifically acknowledging 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.

All of the events described by Patel occurred prior to President Biden’s remarks at the DNC fundraiser.

YouTube video
State Department Press Briefing, May 10, 2023

Regarding the unexpected visit of President Zelenskyy to Chequers and Sunak’s announcement of increased military support for Ukraine, including the establishment of a new UK flying school to train Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets, Patel reiterated the United States’ support for the coalition backing Ukraine. 

“We are fully committed to doing everything within our power, collectively, to ensure that Ukraine has the necessary resources to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” stated Patel. He acknowledged that several countries have already stepped up by sharing systems and providing training opportunities, and expressed eagerness of the US to strengthen partnerships further to fulfill this role and contribute accordingly.


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Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at...

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