Joe Biden does not hate Britain, the White House says, after the US president asked the DUP to welcome Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal and end their boycott of Stormont.
While speaking in Belfast during his ongoing visit to Northern Ireland and Ireland, Mr Biden said US investments worth billions of dollars in Northern Ireland would be encouraged by the Windsor Framework, the Telegraph reports.
The trip marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, with the president acknowledging the lives lost during the Troubles, and the difficulties of achieving peace.
He said: “I hope the assembly and the executive will soon be restored that is a judgement for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens.”
However, Mr Biden has received accusations of being anti-British from numerous DUP politicians, most notably from former first minister Arlene Foster.
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Amanda Sloat, US National Security Council senior director for Europe said of the criticism: “It’s simply untrue.”
The “track record of the president shows that he’s not anti-British” she added, insisting that he is in regular communication with Mr Sunak.
Many Unionists believe Catholic Mr Biden, who regularly touts his Irish roots and is currently on a far longer tour south of the border following a brief trip to the North, is in support of a united Ireland.
Further frustrations were rooted in his warnings to Britain to avoid turning back on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which the DUP believes places danger on their membership of the UK.
The Windsor Framework was negotiated by Mr Sunak to replace the Protocol, however the DUP are still not backing down from their more than year-long boycott of Stormont, which was motivated by the Irish Sea Border issue.
Former DUP leader Ms Foster said Mr Biden’s trip did not place stress on the party to make its return to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which began due to the Good Friday Agreement.
She said: “Quite the reverse actually, because he is seen by so many people as just simply pro-republican and pro-nationalist.”
DUP MP Sammy Wilson claimed Mr Biden “has got a record of being pro-republican, anti-Unionist, anti-British”.
During a visit to Ulster University Mr Biden said US companies were prepared to invest in Northern Ireland, which was “poised to drive unprecedented economic opportunity and investment”.
He said that the country’s GDP has “more than doubled” since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, and could potentially “more than triple” were “things (to) continue to move in the right direction”.
Mr Biden added that the Windsor Framework, which is responsible for the avoidance of a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, addressed Brexit’s “practical realities”.
He added that the “stability and predictability” could coax investment.
The largest foreign investor in Northern Ireland is the US, which has one-of-a-kind access to the UK and EU markets due to the Windsor Framework.
Mr Biden had a cup of tea with Mr Sunak prior to his speech, saying he was there to “listen”.
Mr Sunak said: “I know he shares my ambition to see the institutions here back up and running.
“We spoke in particular about the incredible economic opportunities that are there in store for Nothern Ireland.”
When the leaders met for talks, Downing Street said Mr Sunak and Mr Biden “both expressed their sincere hope that the institutions in Northern Ireland will be restored as soon as possible”.