The slow-rolling U.S. election results continue to hang over President Joe Biden‘s summit meetings in Asia, where world leaders – including some who rule without needing to bother with popular approval – are tracking the outcome.
Biden left the U.S. with control of Congress up for grabs, and only learned his party would keep the Senate as he headed to his last day of meetings in Phnom Penh, where he held meetings and had brief engagements with an array of world leaders.
‘There was a great deal of interest in the room on the results of the U.S. midterms,’ national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters en route to Bali, where Biden is set to engage in still more diplomacy.
He said there were ‘a lot of comments from different’ about Democrats managing to maintain Senate control. They will lead the chamber with either 50 or 51 votes, depending on the outcome of a runoff election in Georgia.
‘So, it’s interesting to see how closely all of the leaders from these different countries, including leaders from countries that are not themselves democracies, very closely follow American politics, right down to state races that they’re all quite familiar with, surprisingly,’ Sullivan observed.
Even world leader of ‘countries that are not themselves democracies’ have been closely tracking state races as U.S. elections results come in while President Joe Biden is overseas, the White House said. The event was hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled for 37 years
He declined to go further, but said ‘many leaders took note of the results of the midterms, came up to the President to engage him and to say that they were following them closely.’
He said a theme that emerged was ‘the strength of American democracy and what this election said about American democracy.’
That was a theme echoed by another senior administration here with the president in Bali, who said Biden received plaudits for the expression of democracy. That came two years after people around the world saw chaos in the longest-running democracy amid the Capitol riot.
This year, even defeated candidates appear to be accepting the results.
President Joe Biden was treated to a Balinese cultural performance as he set down for the G20 summit Sunday night
‘In every single meeting that we have done, the first thing that countries commented on was our democracy,’ a senior administration official told reports
Democrats secured a 50-seat majority with wins in Arizona and Nevada
Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was holding about a 5 per cent lead as the summit began but it took time for him to secure victory
Endangered Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) put Democratic control over the top. Her party could hold 51 seats if Sen. Raphael Warnock is reelected in Georgia, which has a runoff
Who’s going to carry Washington’s third district? An official said every official who met with Biden (he sat down with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Sunday) has brought up the U.S. elections. Some are even tracking state-level results
Democratic allies, too have taken notice. Said the senior administration official: ‘I do want to just underscore that in every single meeting that we have done, the first thing that countries commented on was our democracy, and completing the president on this result but not just one party versus another but the conduct of the elections and the general acceptance of the expression of democracy,’ he said.
‘I think the President was justifiably proud. I think it allows us to come to competing in many respects with the way that our backs.’
That could help him as Chinese President Xi Jinping, who emerged from the Third Party Congress and could rule even longer, sits down with Biden later today.
Talk of the U.S. elections were buzzing throughout the huge lobby at the Sokha hotel in Phnom Penh where leaders met for the ASEAN summit, and where seven visiting delegations from around the region were based.
‘I did hear people interested in our elections; of course, people in ASEAN worry about swings in US politics since US-ASIA relations are heating up in general,’ said Allen Dodgson Tan, a past president of the American Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.
‘I would image it was most!’ leaders who brought it up, he said.
Biden himself said having the Senate under Democratic control helped him as he went to see Xi Jinping.
It came on a day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she thought Biden should seek reelection, following much better than expected results in the House.
‘I know I’m coming in stronger,’ Biden said.
One final matter had yet to be settled: control of the House. If Republicans take charge, they have vowed to probe the administration relentlessly, but would also have to struggle to control factions with a tiny majority if they manage to win control.