A phone call between Joe Biden and Poroshenko was leaked Tuesday showing the two former leaders discussing what the then vice president could and could not tell the incoming Trump administration, with Biden telling the foreign leader that he wants to stay “deeply engaged” in their diplomatic work as a private citizen.
The call, revealed by Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach, took place on Nov. 16, 2016, just a week after then-candidate Donald Trump won the presidential election.
“Hey, Petro. It’s Joe. How are you?” the conversation between the two began.
“Very well indeed, as usual, when I hear your voice, my dear friend,” Poroshenko responded.
The vice president told Poroshenko that he was not able to visit a date that the Ukrainian president has requested, before warning that a future visit at a later date was dependent on how the Ukrainian responded to the incoming Trump administration.
“With regard to my coming on the 21st, as I told you I can never come … the 21st. I am going to try to come immediately after, in early December. But here’s where I am now, part of my answer to that depends on what was your conversation with our president-elect?” he asked the Ukrainian president.
“One of the things I’ve been doing is spending — they are not making the — I’m not being critical, but they, the new administration, the incoming administration has been very, very slow on getting ready for transition. Quite frankly, like most of America, they did not think they were going to win the election”
“The truth of the matter is that the incoming administration doesn’t know a great deal about the situation. So I am meeting with the vice president-elect, who is the only one who has any foreign policy experience,” he added, speaking of Vice President Mike Pence.
During the Obama administration, Biden handled policy on Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan and China, something he was selected to handle due to his 30 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
His handling of Ukraine policy came under question last year during President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Biden finished up the call with a few last words as an official to the president “Well, you’re awfully generous. I don’t plan on going away. As a private citizen, I plan on staying deeply engaged in the endeavor that you have begun and we have begun.
“At least that’s my objective, that’s my objective. But if I go beforehand, I’m worried that they don’t know enough, they will think I’m trying to game them. They will think I am trying to put them in a corner. They will question my motives in going before they are fully briefed.”
The next step from here is how Biden plans on reacting to this recording of him admitting to maintaining a relationship with the country even after his official duty is over.