At NATO, Biden Condemns Trump's 'Phony Populism,' Says GOP 'Is Vastly Diminished,' Then--COVID Shots?

By Susan Jones | June 15, 2021 | 5:26am EDT
President Biden speaks to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden speaks to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


( - At a news conference following his meetings at NATO, a Washington Post reporter asked President Joe Biden what he would say to allies who are "pretty rattled by what happened on January 6th” and “may still be alarmed by the continued hold that Donald Trump has over the Republican Party and the rise of nationalist figures like him around the world."

The reporter wondered if promises Biden makes to U.S. allies will be kept by the next president.

"What I'm saying is -- to them, is watch me," Biden said -- beginning a long and rambling reply that touched on American leadership, a "diminished" Republican Party, Trump's "phony populism," the failure of Republicans to vote for a January 6 commission, and even COVID vaccinations.

Responding to the immediate question about promises Biden makes, he said "people," meaning our NATO allies, "don't doubt that I mean what I say, and they believe that I keep my commitments when I say it. I'm not making any promises to anyone that I don't believe are overwhelmingly likely to be kept," he continued.

Here is the rest of his disjointed response:

I think that we're at a moment where, I mean, let me put it this way--you may have had a different view, but I think an awful lot of people thought that my showing up at the G7 would not produce any kind of enthusiasm about American leadership and about where America was.

I would suggest that it didn't turn out that way. I would suggest that there is a -- the leaders I'm dealing with in NATO and the G7 are leaders who know our recent history, know generically the character of the American people and know where the vast center of the public stands--not Democrat/Republican, but who we are. We're decent, honorable nation.

And I think that they have seen things happen, as we have, that shocked them and surprised them it could have happened. But I think they--like I do--believe the American people are not going to sustain that kind of behavior.

And so, I, you know, I don't want to get into these statistics because -- you know that old phrase of dIsraelis -- there's three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. But I think it's appropriate to say that um, the Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers. The leadership of the Republican Party is fractured, and the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people.

And we'll see. We'll see. I believe that by us standing up and saying what we believe to be the case -- not engaging in the--the overwhelming hyperbole that gets engaged in by so many today, that um, we--I guess that old expression, the proof in the pudding is in the eating--when we said--when I said I was going to deal with beating the virus, and I was going to focus on that and I was going to get millions of shots into people's arms -- it wasn't me. I just knew the American people. I knew the kind of help I'd get from the Defense Department, from police departments from--from the hospitals from--from retired docs from--I--I just knew.

And look how rapidly we moved. Now we have a group of people who were, everything from the political rejection of the notion of taking a vaccine; to people who are simply afraid of a needle and everything in between. And we have a way to go. But I never doubted that we would be able to generate the kind of support we got and get so many millions of people step up and get vaccinated.

So I--I think it--it is a shock and surprise that what's happened in terms of the consequence of President Trump's phony populism has--has happened. And it is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate who I know, know better, have been reluctant to take on, for example, an--an investigation because they are worried about being primaried.

But at the end of the day--we've been through periods like this in American history before, where there has been this reluctance to take a chance on your re-election because of the nature of your party's politics at the moment.

I think this is a passing -- and I don't mean easily passing -- that's why it's so important that I succeed in my agenda--the agenda, whether it's dealing with the vaccine, the economy, infrastructure--it's important that we demonstrate we can make progress and continue to make progress. And I think we're going to be able to do that.

So, as I said, the proof will be in -- where it is, you know, six months from now where--where we are, but I think you're going to see that there's a--that God willing, we're going to be making progress -- and there is going to be a coalescing of a lot of Republicans particularly, younger Republicans who are coming up in the party.

At that point, Biden turned to another reporter for the "last question."

Biden is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva, after which he will give another solo news conference.

MRC Store