President Joe Biden and the United States have been warmly welcomed back to the world stage at the ongoing G-7 meeting in Cornwall, England. It’s clear that the leaders of the world’s wealthiest economies are grateful they no longer have to dread dealing with the tantrums they had to endure when Donald Trump was president.
They’re glad the days of Trump repeatedly interrupting G-7 discussions to ask why they couldn’t invite Russian President Vladimir Putin are behind them. But they also are aware that the twice-impeached, one-term former president remains a major force in U.S. politics and worry that he might somehow reattain the presidency.
That’s why Biden has been greeted with equal parts optimism and skepticism. One senior European official described his horror at the Jan. 6 assault by pro-Trump rioters on the U.S. Capitol – and said he had an even worse feeling reading opinion polls since then showing that a substantial portion of Republican voters believe Trump’s “big lie” that the election was stolen from him and that Biden is an illegitimate president.
“Your democracy is in serious trouble,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk frankly about an ally, told The Washington Post.
European leaders never expected that Trump would so quickly blow away decades of cooperation with America’s allies. While they appreciate Biden’s efforts thus far to repair the damage, they say worry that Biden could be replaced by Trump, or a Trump-like figure, in 3-1/2 years.
“We are facing major democratic issues on both sides,” said Pierre Vimont, a former French ambassador to Washington. “Whether Trump will come back is a major concern for the Europeans.”