Newton Emerson: Joe Biden’s Brexit remarks show an opportunity for unionism

US president-elect did not seem like someone yearning to push for difficult change in Ireland

When questioned by RTÉ reporter Brian O'Donovan US president-elect Joe Biden said he did not want a guarded Border between Ireland and the UK, adding that he had discussed the matter with Boris Johnson and other EU leaders. Video: Reuters

Joe Biden has made his first comments on Brexit and Ireland as US president-elect. After four years of choking on Donald Trump’s word-salad, it is alluring to once again have statements from the leader of the free world that can be thoughtfully chewed over and digested.

Most journalists will be tempted, relieved and a little desperate to resume the civilised parlour game of pre-Trump political analysis. They must remember all things are relative. As Barack Obama’s vice-president, Biden was notoriously careless with language. His 70-word comment this week was an unscripted reply to a television reporter. Subjecting it to Kissenger-era chin stroking might be over the top.

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