President Joe Biden said Monday that the results of last week’s midterm elections demonstrate an ongoing American commitment to participating in global affairs.
“I think the election held in United States, which still leaves a little bit uncertain, has sent a very strong message around the world that the United States is ready to play,” Biden said in Bali, Indonesia, where it was Monday night. “The Republicans who survived along with the Democrats are of the view that we’re going to stay fully engaged in the world and that we, in fact, know what we’re about.”
The president was in Bali as part of an international trip that began with a stop at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, before continuing onward to Cambodia for the ASEAN summit and ultimately to Indonesia, which has the presidency of the G-20 this year and is hosting the leaders’ summit starting on Tuesday.
Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday in Bali ahead of the summit, and he opened a post-Xi meeting news conference by highlighting the election outcomes known thus far, which include the Democrats retaining control of the Senate and losses by a number of Republican candidates for secretary of state posts who had denied the outcome of the 2020 elections (including Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump). Before Election Day, Biden had cast those candidates and their rhetoric as a threat to democracy.
“What we saw was the strength and resilience of American democracy. We saw in action, and the American people proved once again, that democracy is who we are. And there was a strong rejection of election deniers at every level, from those seeking to lead our states and those seeking to serve in Congress, and also those seeking to oversee the elections,” the president said.
While the Senate will have at least 50 Democratic senators after Saturday night’s victory by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., the House has remained uncalled. Republicans seemed to have an inside track for taking control by a narrow margin as ballots continue to be counted in states including Arizona and California. Biden seemed well aware Monday of the likelihood of Republicans taking the House and the return of divided government.
The president responded to a shouted question at the end of his Monday news conference about the prospects of codifying abortion rights protections in the 118th Congress.
“I don’t think they can expect much of anything other than we’re going to maintain our positions,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s enough votes to codify, unless something happens unusual in the House. I think we’re going to get very close in the House,” Biden said. “I think it’s going to be very close, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.”