They went to school together and talked about girlfriends, cars and music. In adulthood, Robert Markel became mayor of Springfield and his childhood friend Joe Biden became president of the United States.
– He was not very progressive as a young man, says Robert Markel.
Robert Markel met Joe Biden when they were both in their early teens. They sat next to each other in school and hung out in the Biden family’s home, which became a gathering place for the teenagers. Markel describes the young Joe Biden as outgoing and social. A person who introduced himself to everyone and made sure that others also met.
– His mother used to tell me why my girlfriends were angry with me and stuff, says Robert Markel, who is himself an active democrat for the Foreign Office.
Much later, Markel became mayor of Springfield – and his childhood friend became a Democratic president. But that it was precisely Democrat Joe Biden would become was not always a matter of course.
– His way of looking at the world when he was younger was more conservative. Now he pursues some policies that would be considered progressive. I think the most progressive thing about his policy is that he realizes that the United States and other countries in the Western world do not have the power to change other countries. This is quite clear from our experiences in Iraq and Iran. They do not want it.
The relationship with Europe is ruined
A lot of Joe Biden’s policies have been compared to those of his opponent Donald Trump. These include the handling of migrants and refugees, the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the treatment of European allies. Robert Markel can understand some of the criticism.
– France has been our most loyal ally. Most Americans love France. I think what happened was a mistake. Our relationship with our traditional allies in Europe is ruined. Trump was openly unfriendly. I think what has happened so far with the Biden administration was not the intention, but it has still ruined the relationship.