Johnson: ‘The gloom has been overdone. And we’re turning a corner and the countries we call the West are drawing together and combining their formidable strength and expertise once again.’
Boris Johnson praised Joe Biden for putting the United States back as ‘leader of the free world’ – and snubbed Donald Trump by saying we are now ‘turning a corner’.
Speaking to the annual Munich Security Conference virtually on Friday, President Biden used his first address before a global audience to declare that ‘America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back,’ after four years of a Trump administration.
Mr Biden spoke of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal, meeting economic and security challenges posed by China and Russia, and repairing the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic – tasks he said would require close cooperation between the US and its Western allies.
Prime Minister Mr Johnson echoed Mr Biden’s sentiment that America was ‘back’, and seemingly snubbed previous US President Mr Trump.
Mr Johnson said: ‘As you’ve seen and heard earlier, America is unreservedly back as the leader of the free world and that is a fantastic thing.
‘The gloom has been overdone. And we’re turning a corner and the countries we call the West are drawing together and combining their formidable strength and expertise once again.’
Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name once in his speech, Mr Biden mixed talk of a reinvigorated democratic alliance with a rebuke of his predecessor’s approach, a message warmly received by Western allies.
‘I know the past few years have strained and tested the transatlantic relationship,’ he said. ‘The United States is determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership.’
The president also participated Friday in a virtual meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, where leaders managed to work Biden’s campaign theme into their closing joint statement, vowing to ‘work together to beat COVID-19 and build back better.’
‘Welcome back, America,’ said European Council President Charles Michel.
But while such happy talk conveyed the palpable sense of relief among allies at Biden’s full-throated commitment to mending frayed US-Europe relations, plenty has changed over the past four years in ways creating new challenges.