Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it is “very, very disappointing” that US president Donald Trump is still refusing to concede the 2020 election.
Joe Biden swept to victory in November with more than 80 million votes and took the all-important electoral college by a margin of 306 to 232.
But less than a month before Mr Biden is set to take office, the incumbent still refuses to recognise the result of what he called a “rigged election”.
The Taoiseach said he believes Mr Trump will eventually concede, but that his refusal to do so is setting a bad example for young people.
He said: “It’s very, very disappointing. I think he will concede. I think there’s an agenda perhaps going on, a political agenda, in respect of American politics and people are already thinking of the next election, in terms of the argumentation that’s going on at the moment.
“But I do believe, in any democracy, one should of course accept the election results.”
It’s important for the younger generation watching on that the transfer of power is an honourable one.
Mr Martin added: “It’s important for the younger generation watching on that the transfer of power is an honourable one and one that reflects the enduring nature of out parliamentary democracies.
“I think of our own government in ’32, when Fianna Fáil were in power and the seamless transition from Fianna Fáil which people at the time maybe thought wouldn’t have happened. That’s been a very strong position in our system.
“I think it sets an example for younger people from the older generations that that’s the way it should be, in relation to the transfer of power.”
He went on: “We have great examples in democracies of speeches made by losing candidates.
“In previous presidential elections they were all very gracious. They want to acknowledge the primacy of the ballot box, notwithstanding some very close elections.
“I think that’s the spirit with which this should be handled as well. But I don’t actually think there’s a danger to American democracy.”
I’ve had a warm and engaging call with US President Elect @joebiden He brings tremendous knowledge & understanding to his new role, and has a great love for his Irish heritage. He underlined his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement & we spoke of importance of multilateralism..
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) November 10, 2020
Mr Martin has been full of praise for the president-elect since his November victory, describing him as a “friend of Ireland”.
He outlined his belief that Mr Biden will be a key ally in the coming years.
“He has a genuine affection for the country, and he’s a multilateralist at heart. He wants to reset the relationship with the European Union,” he said.
“He has made very clear to me on day one he wants to rejoin the Paris Accord, that he wants to rejoin the WHO.
“And he’s a friend of Ireland, in terms of trade, that he doesn’t want anything in the context of Brexit undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
“I think it will be a very interesting year from a policy perspective – in terms of resetting relations with Europe and hopefully the United Kingdom.
“Basically, marrying the alliance between the US, Europe and the UK, who after all, notwithstanding their differences, have common values in terms of democracy, freedom of speech, and all of that.”
Mr Martin did not say whether the traditional St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House will go ahead in 2021, as it will depend on the status of the coronavirus.
He said: “It’ll be very dependent on the status of Covid in the United States, internationally and in Ireland.
“When I invited President Biden to Ireland, he said ‘Just try and keep me out’. I thought that was interesting.”
He added: “Yes, I would love to be able to get to Washington DC on St Patrick’s Day, but we’ll have to see where we are in terms of where Covid is.”