Dutch PM discusses "exciting" U.S. elections; Does not denounce Trump's "fraud" claims
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte weighed in on the closely fought contest for President of the United States between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Speaking during his regular weekly press conference on Friday, Rutte said that he is prepared to work with whomever holds the office starting next January, noting the complexity of the relationship between the U.S. and the Netherlands, and between the U.S. and Europe.
"It's exciting. Saying that is an understatement. The phrase 'neck and neck race' seems pretty much invented for this battle for the U.S. Presidency," Rutte said. "The United States is of great importance to our country for the whole of Europe, for our security and for our economy," he continued.
When asked how long he would wait to congratulate the winner, considering many votes were still being counted and that lawsuits could slow the process down, Rutte said, "It's unpredictable. We will just have to see, first, how things go during the coming hours." When asked if he would miss Trump, Rutte slyly smiled, and dodged the question, saying, "I will first wait and see how the elections end." He then pointed out that he knows Trump well, and has also met Biden a few times. "Of course we are seeing a democracy in full force, where the votes are almost counted live on television, county by county, day after day. This is democracy."
Rutte was then pressed to comment on President Trump's accusations that the voting process in some states were a "fraud", if that was a good example of democracy, and if Trump's accusations and lawsuits were a threat to democracy. "Let me say that that is certainly remarkable, but it is not for me to comment further on internal political affairs in another country," he said.
"I am Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and, when there is a clear winner, my job is to work well with them. I am not going to comment on everything going on and happening in the meantime."
Rutte's position, he stated at the beginning of the press conference. is that the stakes are too high for the Netherlands to shun the President of the United States, regardless of who holds the office. He pointed to the American, Canadian, and international efforts to liberate the Netherlands during World War II, and that the U.S. and the Dutch have worked well together over the years because of similar norms and values.
"Therefore, whatever the outcome of that election is, we will continue to focus on that relationship with the United States," he said. "I will continue with that for my part, because the big issues, the geopolitical issues that are facing us right now, they are so enormous. We can only face them together, both with Trump and with Biden."