White House: It will be ‘a bit of time’ before Biden’s first foreign trip

President Biden does not yet have plans to meet with foreign leaders abroad and it will be “a bit of time” before his first foreign trip, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

“Despite his desire — my desire if that matters — to do a foreign trip, I think it will be a bit of time. I don’t have an update for you on when that will take place at this point,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing.

“I would expect he will have, of course, additional foreign leader calls next week,” she continued.

Psaki did not provide further explanation, but it is likely that the new administration’s plans for trips will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden is scheduled to speak separately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador later Friday. Psaki signaled that Biden would likely speak to U.S. allies in Europe next week.

Past presidents have varied in how early they have embarked on foreign trips after being elected. President Obama traveled to Canada in February 2009, about a month after being sworn in. President Trump waited longer, taking his first international trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2017.

The coronavirus has been a major factor diminishing domestic and overseas travel and resulted in the Group of 20 summit being held virtually last November. Biden, who recently received the coronavirus vaccine, significantly limited his campaign travel last year due to the pandemic.

Biden’s first months in office are also likely to be focused chiefly on his domestic agenda, as his administration addresses the pandemic and the economic crisis it has brought on.

Still, he has said he plans to rebuild U.S. alliances and work with foreign partners to address the coronavirus pandemic and other global issues, and his administration quickly began engaging with other governments when he took office. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, held his first calls with foreign counterparts from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan on Thursday.

Tags Donald Trump Jake Sullivan Jen Psaki Justin Trudeau

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