Veep Kamala Harris takes foreign calls on behalf of Biden

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Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday held her second call with a foreign leader — speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron after a talk earlier this month with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as with World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in January.

The calls boost the vice president’s role in diplomacy. Former Vice President Mike Pence occasionally spoke directly by phone with foreign leaders, but that role generally was performed by former President Donald Trump, especially last year.

A review of press notices from Pence’s final year in office reveals no readouts of direct calls with the leaders of foreign nations.

Harris expressed to Macron “her commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalizing the transatlantic alliance,” according to a readout from her office.

Harris and Macron “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world,” according to the readout.

“They also discussed numerous regional challenges, including those in the Middle East and Africa, and the need to confront them together. The Vice President thanked President Macron for his leadership on the issue of gender equality and for France’s contribution to NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover,” the release said.

Harris, who attended high school in Montreal, spoke with Trudeau on Feb. 1 about “the United States’ desire to work closely with Canada on a wide range of issues, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing climate change, and expanding our economic partnership in ways that advance the recovery and create jobs,” her office said.

President Biden spoke with Trudeau on Jan. 22 in his first call as president with a foreign nation’s leader. He spoke with Macron on Jan. 24.

Biden has also spoken with the leaders of the UK, Germany, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and India.

Although Pence seldom spoke with world leaders toward the end of his term, he did so occasionally in earlier years and sometimes met with foreign leaders on trips abroad.

Pence spoke on the phone with Trudeau in 2019 and with the presidents of Argentina and Australia in 2017. He spoke in 2018 and 2019 with Colombia’s president. He spoke in 2018 with Iraq’s prime minister and in 2019 with Ukraine’s president.
 

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