Biden Won’t Host Foreign Leaders at White House for ‘A Couple of Months’

Biden Won’t Host Foreign Leaders at White House for ‘A Couple of Months’
President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 16, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen
President Joe Biden isn’t likely to host foreign leaders at the White House for “a couple of months,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

“I would anticipate for all of you that it will be a couple of months before the president has an in-person or invites a foreign leader to meet in person here at the White House,” Psaki told reporters during a press briefing.

She made the remarks in response to a question about whether Biden will soon meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was the first foreign leader to be phoned by the president.

Trudeau’s office said in a readout of their Jan. 22 call that the pair had agreed “to meet next month.”

“You can meet over video, as we all know.  I don’t have any timeline of a meeting to convey or to confirm for you,” Psaki responded.

Although the president has telephoned a number of foreign leaders since he was sworn in on Jan. 20, he is yet to meet in-person with any of them, due to the ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic and travel restrictions in place to curb the transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The president has yet to travel abroad, and the White House hasn’t indicated when he might do so.

Among others, Biden has also spoken over the phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss potentially forging a new U.S.-Britain trade deal, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on immigration issues.

Biden has also telephoned the leaders of Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.

He has faced scrutiny for not yet speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, Psaki told reporters Tuesday that a call would take place “soon,” and that Israel is an “ally” to the United States.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron—her second call with a foreign leader. Biden and Macron spoke on Jan. 24.

According to a readout of the call from her office, she expressed to Macron “her commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalizing the transatlantic alliance.”

The pair “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world.”

Psaki has also said talks are underway on holding the presidential State of the Union address to a packed joint session of Congress. “Obviously it will look different” due to COVID-19 restrictions, she said.