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Joe Blow US President Joe Biden’s reference to 'the Brits' during his first press briefing goes viral

US President Joe Biden’s reference to ”the Brits” during his first press briefing yesterday has seen the phrase become one of the top trending topics on Twitter this morning. 

Mr Biden was answering questions about the plight of migrants at the US-Mexico border, when he made reference to his own family history.

"When my great-grandfather got into a coffin ship in the Irish sea, the expectation was if he was going to live long enough on that ship to get to the United States of America but they left because of what the Brits had been doing," he said.

"They were in real trouble, they didn't want to leave, but they had no choice," he added.

The use of the phrase by a sitting US President raised eyebrows on social media, with some delighting in what could be considered a derogative put down of our nearest neighbours.

One hilarious post on Twitter compared Mr Biden's reference to the comic Steve Coogan’s singing of the rebel song Come Out, Ye Black and Tans on primetime BBC television last year.

Others have seen it as an indication that UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, might have his hands full when it comes to securing a vital trade deal with the US.

“Joe Biden in his first press conference on his great grandfather from Ireland: "He had to leave because of what the Brits were doing - Good luck with that trade deal Mr Johnson,” one person joked.

“Here is Joe Biden POTUS pointing out what the Brits did to his great grandfathers generation in Ireland. Johnson watch out and be warned,” added another.


Other social media users didn’t take it too seriously…“Joe Biden... has known from day one that the Brits are always at it.”

And: “I hate him, but him saying ‘the brits’ did make me happy”.

One person tweeted: “ Why did Meghan and prince Harry leave the UK , #JoeBiden has an answer . The brits causing trouble for everyone since day one.”

However, others saw a more serious political issue at stake.

“To my ears “the Brits” is a very Irish Republican phrase,” one person suggested. “I’ve not heard it used outside of Northern Ireland. It sounds as if Johnson should’ve thought a little harder about his deal with the States before trashing the Good Friday Agreement.”

“Biden blames the Brits for the Irish potato famine. Say what you will but that’s definitely the Irish perspective,” added another.

“Please believe me when I tell you that when an Irish person (and Joe Biden) refers to “Brits” it is with exactly the same sentiment as when a British person refers to the Irish as “Paddies”,” another person argued.

“The Great Famine caused the deaths of over 2 million ppl. One of its legacies was the Easter Rising, the other, Emigration. JFK was Famine Irish, Joe Biden is too. If this makes the Brits uncomfortable well you can’t rewrite History,” was another serious point argued.

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Online Editors