Joe Biden witnessed Thatcher ‘grab politician by lapels’ as she demanded Falkland backing | World | News
Mr Biden’s career has spanned some 50 years, and during this time met with some of the world’s most notable leaders. He is about to enter the ultimate hallmark of his career: becoming US President. It has been a long road for Mr Biden as the President-elect has run for office a total of three times.
One of the most historical leaders Mr Biden had a rapport and political dealings with was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Ms Thatcher was a close ally of the Republican President Ronald Reagan throughout the Eighties, during which time Mr Biden was part of the Senate and later its chair.
It was then that UK-US relations were at an all time high.
On one of Ms Thatcher’s frequent visits to the US, Mr Biden revealed how she had changed the mind of one of her American colleagues to end his sympathies for Argentina and fully back the British going into the Falklands War.
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It came shortly after Ms Thatcher’s death in 2013 and, offering his condolences, he reminded those present of Ms Thatcher’s political prowess, and said: “I don’t know if it’s appropriate but I was sharing this story with the ambassador, we were talking about Jesse Helms, me and him alternated being chairman and ranking members of the foreign relations committee – he adored Margaret Thatcher.
“I had the occasion numerous times to be with the Prime Minister, and this time was just prior to the Falklands war began.
“She came to visit, and she walked into the foreign relations committee room, and in all the 30 years I served with Jesse Helms, I never saw anyone melt this man’s heart.
“She walked in and came over to Jesse and grabbed him by the lapels, she said, ‘Jesse, I can’t believe this, you’re sympathetic to the Argentinians. I can’t believe you’d do this to me Jesse.’
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“And he ummed and ahhed and ended up changing his position – you think I’m joking, I am not joking.
“Everybody talks about her persuasive powers, well, with Jesse and with the President she was very persuasive, very effective.”
Despite this, Mr Biden remained staunchly opposed to many of the policies that Ms Thatcher and Mr Reagan agreed on.
Apartheid in South Africa was one such thing that Mr Biden vehemently opposed.
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He repeatedly slammed what he perceived as the Reagan administration’s lack of action to end the segregation and violence in the region.
In a famous 1986 Senate speech, he accused the US of having a lack of “moral backbone” over the ordeal.
He said: “What disturbs me more than the policy is the rationale for the policy.
“The rationale for the policy you set out for principles that you adhere to.
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“You say on page 14 ‘we must not become South Africa’s problem, we must remain part of their solution, we must not aim to impose ourselves, our solutions, our favourites in South Africa’.
“Damn it, we have favourites in South Africa – the favourites in South Africa are the people being suppressed by that ugly white regime.
“We have favourites – our loyalty is not to South Africa it’s to South Africans – and the South Africans are majority black, and they are being excoriated.”
Meanwhile, it is looking more likely by the day that President Donald Trump will allow for a smooth transition of power in January 2021.
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Mr Trump launched a tirade against Mr Biden’s election victory, claiming that electoral fraud was widespread as a result of mass postal voting.
He has since, however, appeared to be more accepting of the result.
Yesterday, Mr Trump said he will leave the White House when the Electoral College votes for Mr Biden – the closest he has come to conceding defeat.
Mr Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes, more than the 270 required.
Mr Trump secured just 232.
Mr Biden also leads Mr Trump by more than six million in the popular vote.