The Biden campaign says it’s limiting contact with foreign officials, blaming a ‘poisonous environment’ created by Trump

The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Associated Press

  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign says it’s limiting members’ interaction with foreign officials, Politico reported.

  • A campaign official told the outlet that President Donald Trump had created a “poisonous environment” around interacting with other countries.

  • Trump was impeached over his dealings with Ukraine, and he has also faced scrutiny for his interactions with Russia and China.

  • Trump was acquitted over Ukraine in February by the Republican-controlled Senate.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign says it’s restricting its members’ interactions with foreign officials, Politico reported Tuesday.

Antony Blinken, a senior adviser to Biden, told the outlet that the measure was meant to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest amid what he called a “poisonous environment” attributed to President Donald Trump.

Trump has been accused of inappropriate interactions with foreign officials both during his 2016 campaign and as president.

He was impeached in December over accusations that he abused his power trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating Biden and other Democrats. Specifically, he was accused of tying military aid to the announcement of an investigation.

The Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump in February. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

“Because of this poisonous environment created by the president, and so that there is no confusion as to whether or not we are inviting any assistance from foreign governments … our campaign has refrained from engaging in substantive conversations with foreign government officials, and would only do so under conditions that ensure transparency,” Blinken told Politico.

A new book by Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, “The Room Where It Happened,” says that Trump also solicited help with reelection from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump, according to Bolton, asked Xi to buy agricultural products from the US specifically to help him win the support of farmers, Business Insider previously reported, citing excerpts from the book.

“He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” Bolton wrote.

Bolton characterized the interaction as Trump “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.”

The first half of Trump’s term was dominated by the investigation into whether he illegally conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election. The report by the special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence that Trump officials broke the law, but it described multiple instances in which members of the Trump campaign seemed open to accepting help from Russia.

Blinken told Politico that Trump “debased” the presidency by “begging foreign governments to shore up his reelection campaign.”

Biden’s campaign has said it does not anticipate any circumstances in which it would have any “substantive interaction” with foreign officials.

Politico said, however, that foreign governments were “increasingly eager” to connect with Biden’s campaign and that the foreign-policy portion of Biden’s campaign was already made up of more than 1,000 people.

Politico reported that the Biden campaign planned to interact with foreign officials only if there was a preset agenda cleared by campaign lawyers and foreign-affairs staffers. A notetaker would also summarize the conversation and send it to the press, the outlet said.

According to Politico, while Biden’s decision seems to be mostly symbolic, it’s leaving some foreign diplomats frustrated.

An unnamed Middle Eastern diplomat told Politico: “I know people are talking about election interference, but we’re talking about building a relationship with, say, the foreign-policy adviser who might become the next national security adviser. You want to do that in this day and not when they’re in the position. When they’re officially in office, they’re harder to get to.”

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