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White House downplays Biden’s ‘xenophobic’ remarks

In a damage-control exercise, the White House has tried to downplay US President Joe Biden’s comment on Japan and India as “xenophobic” countries that do not welcome immigrants. “He was making a broader point. Our allies and partners know very well that how much this President respects them,” stated White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre yesterday

US President Joe Biden
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US President Joe Biden

In a damage-control exercise, the White House has tried to downplay US President Joe Biden’s comment on Japan and India as “xenophobic” countries that do not welcome immigrants. “He was making a broader point. Our allies and partners know very well that how much this President respects them,” stated White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre yesterday.

The US President’s were quite specific though. On Wednesday evening, Biden addressed at a campaign fundraising event, comprising mostly Asian-American audience. He said that the forthcoming presidential election in the US this November was about “freedom, America and democracy.”

He went on to say, “Why? Because we welcome immigrant.” Then he said, “Think about it. Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants.”

Biden’s comments have not gone down well with US commentators. On X, former deputy assistant secretary of defence in the Trump administration Elbridge Colby wrote that Japan and India “are two of our very stoutest and important allies.” He added, “We should speak to them with respect, which they command and deserve. Applying parochial progressive views to our allies is patronizing and foolish.”

Apparently, the Biden administration has taken cognizance of the consternation his comments have occasioned in friendly nations. This seems to be the reason that Jean-Pierre came up with a reaction intended to calm frayed nerves in Delhi and Tokyo. She said, “It relates to our relationship with our allies, that continues. Obviously, we have a strong relationship with India (and) with Japan. And the President, if you just look at the last three years, has certainly focused on those diplomatic relationships.”

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