After US media projected Joe Biden as President-elect on Saturday, a number of world leaders congratulated him for coming out as a victor. But not everyone hastened to release the congratulatory remarks in fact as a number of leaders recorded their silence over the development. Here are some of the key international figures who have been conspicuous in their absence.
Some have gone even further, congratulating Trump or backing his unverified claims of rigging. At least one minister has lost his job doing so.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Four years ago, when Trump shocked everyone by dislodging Hillary Clinton, Putin was among the first to greet Trump with a congratulatory message however, he opted to be a lukewarm this time around and didn’t posted a tweet, sent a telegram or made a phone call to his American compatriot.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cited the legal challenges filed by Trump as the reason for not issuing a congratulatory message.
“We believe the correct thing to do would be to wait for the official election result,” he told reporters.
However, Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says there is a suspicion that lack of Moscow’s congratulatory response shows that Moscow is not excited by the outcome of the elections. It is reasserted by the fact that Moscow Biden is a vocal critic of Mosco and has consistently struck anti-Russia and Hawkish tone in the past. Trump has rarely criticized Russia or Putin while Russia was accused of meddling in US elections which Trump won in 2016.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa
Jansa has kept no secret of his affinity towards Trump and event tweeted his congratulations to the incumbent president on Wednesday way before the completion of outstanding vote counts. However, on Saturday he came up with a more conciliatory tone and said that friendly nations with the US as key strategic partner would remain regardless of who takes the White House. Though he still has to offer congratulations to the President-elect.
Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme
Helme on Monday announced he is stepping down as the Interior Minister after he along with his son Finance Minister Martin Helme made allegations about massive election fraud in US election while appearing on a radio talk show on Sunday. He also accused US President-elect and his son Hunter of corruption.
His son said that “all normal people should speak up” about the systemic rigging.
“There is no point in talking about any kind of democracy or the rule of law if elections can be so rudely, so blatantly and massively rigged,” he added.
Helme senior, a member of far-right Conservative People’s Party said he was resigning from the post because of the insults hurled against him in the Estonian media.
Estonian PM Juri Ratas has congratulated Biden for the victory.
Brazilian Premier Jair Bolsonaro
Bolsonaro often considered a friend of Trump, once described as the “Trump of the Tropics”, has failed to congratulate Biden, confirming his alliance with Donald Trump. According to Brazilian media Bolsonaro is waiting for the outcomes of the legal challengers launched by the incumbent President.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Lopez Obrador is another Latin American leader who has tried to maintain amicable relationship with Trump despite strained relations over the US President’s rigid policy on illegal immigrants and particularly for his pledge to construct a border wall between the neighboring countries. The Mexican leader has therefore been cautious about the US election and on Sunday said he would rather wait for “all legal issues” to be resolved.
“We don’t want to be imprudent. We don’t want to act lightly,” he said at a news conference, adding that Mexico had a “very good relationship” with both contestants. Obrador’s ambiguous stance has prompted criticism from several senior US Democrats with Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro calling it a “stunning diplomatic failure”.
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu is among the minority of world leaders who has never hidden his warm relations with the Republican. And while he congratulated Biden, the noticeable absence of the words “president-elect and “vp-elect” in his message was observed by critics.
“”I would like to open with greetings to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. For almost 40 years I have had a personal, long and warm relationship with Joe Biden and I know him as a big friend of the state of Israel,” he said in a video statement.
Netanyahu concluded his message by praising Trump for supporting Israel and thanked him for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and for his hardline stance on Iranian regime, the biggest threat to Israelis.
Other top leaders include Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.