“I really do not believe that it is hyperbole to say that Joe Biden returns from this trip as the clear and the consensus leader of the free world,” said Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, in an on-the-record call with reporters.
A recent Pew poll on the issue of global leadership ahead of Biden’s European tour showed citizens of foreign countries favored German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the most trusted leader to lead the world.
The White House responded to criticism of Biden from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for failing to stand up for U.S. national interests, on issues of wrongfully imprisoned Americans and cyber hacks from within the country, during the meeting with Putin.
Sullivan argued that McCarthy supported former President Donald Trump who “gave President Putin a pass,” while Biden was standing up for American values.
He also pointed Biden’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, who said to reporters that America was “definitely back” as evidence of Biden’s prowess.
Sullivan described the leaders from both Europe and Asia were “extremely positive” about Biden’s “personal leadership” in the world, as evidence of his successful trip.
“Whether it’s standing with friends or engaging with difficult competitors like Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden showed throughout this trip that he is striding across the world stage with confidence and purpose and a singular focus on defending American interests and values and those of our allies,” Sullivan said.
Biden angered many Republicans after he berated them and their supporters at a press conference while he was overseas.
He argued the United States was at a moment of turning away from the “phony populism” that Trump fueled with his presidency, describing his supporters as “vastly diminished” and “fractured.”
“I think this is passing. I don’t mean easily passing,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that I succeed in my agenda.”