Joe Biden’s right-hand man compared Brexit to ‘dog being run over by car’ | UK | News (Reports)


The US Senate recently confirmed Mr Blinken as President Biden’s Secretary of State with overwhelming bipartisan support. A foreign affairs veteran with a family history of public service, Mr Blinken will be the 71st top US diplomat and most senior Cabinet member, serving as the chief representative of the US around the globe. Mr Blinken has served Mr Biden in various roles for over two decades, including as a staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Many of the Senators who voted to support his nomination had also confirmed him for the number two position at the State Department in the Obama administration, where he served as Deputy National Security Adviser.

Mr Blinken has pledged to re-engage US allies, rebuild global alliances and lead from a position of “humility and confidence”, as the country reels from its own domestic turmoil and the health and economic crises stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not clear whether the US and the UK will continue to enjoy a “special relationship”, though.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a challenge in developing a relationship with Mr Biden as close as he managed with his predecessor — with the US President having previously referred to him as the “physical and emotional clone of Donald Trump”.

Moreover, in comments made on podcast Pod Save The World — which is hosted by former Obama White House staffers — Mr Blinken depicted the decision to leave the EU as chaotic and self destructive while making clear his view it had not been the preferred choice for the US.

As former Prime Minister Theresa May tried and failed to get her Brexit deal through the Commons in 2019, Mr Blinken said: “This is not just the dog that caught the car, this is the dog that caught the car and the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog.

“It’s a total mess.”

He added that while it was difficult to make the case from the US for the UK to remain in the bloc, Britain’s involvement in the continent had been America’s preferred option.

Despite these claims, Mr Johnson was the first European leader to receive a call from President Biden.

No 10 said that the call, which the Prime Minister took in his Downing Street office, was “very warm, friendly and wide-ranging”, and included discussion of a post-Brexit trade deal and green policy issues.

Moreover, a Government adviser has told that Mr Johnson is likely to bag another trade victory, as there has been a lot of talk in Washington about extending the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) just for a UK-US trade deal.

Shanker Singham, the CEO of economic consultancy Competere, said: “Any new US President has to focus on domestic policy for the first few months.

“He cannot seem to be leading with foreign policy and I expect Biden to be no different.

“He will be trying to offset the balance of the Trump administration, the anti-Europe approach.

“But at the end of the day, what does it mean for trade policy?”

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Mr Singham noted: “A deal with the UK is the only deal a Democrat President like Biden can actually do, because there is no race to the bottom on labour and environment, there is no offshoring of US jobs.

“A UK deal that a Biden administration puts together is more likely to pass the US process and there has been a lot of talk about extending TPA just for the UK deal.”

In July, an obscure piece of US legislation that both governs the process through which trade deals pass through Congress and sets out the overarching principles of US trade policy, expires.

When protected by that legislation — known as the TPA — trade deals are effectively “fast-tracked” through the US Congress with lawmakers unable to make substantial changes or amendments to the text of the deal.

In order to be protected by the TPA, a US-UK trade deal must be put before Congress by April.

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If that deadline is missed, the deal will either be put before Congress without the fast-track protections offered, and risk being bogged down in dispute, or UK officials could wait for a fresh TPA to be negotiated.

Mr Singham talked to several cross-party politicians in Congress, who all seemed excited about the prospect of a US-UK trade deal.

He added: “It does seem to be coming from a lot of sources.

“I have had conversations with Richard Neal, who is the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

“Ron Wyden, who will be the Chairman of the Senate Finance committee.

“They all want a deal with the UK.

“If anything, that really has not changed.”


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