From Fiji to Paris, London to Ottawa, foreign leaders were quick to congratulate Joe Biden on Saturday, moments after he was elected the 46th President of the United States.
The words were warm and welcoming for President-elect Biden. There’s something poignant, and a bit controversial, about the timing. The well-wishes come from foreign capitals even as President Trump refuses to concede the victory to Biden—and as he vows to fight the vote tally in the courts.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wasn’t the first to offer his congratulations, but his words set the tone. Over the past four years, America’s biggest allies have been drifting further away from Trump’s Washington on big issues from climate change to freer trade. That all seemed to change on Saturday.
“I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities,” Johnson’s statement read, “from climate change to trade and security.”
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 7, 2020
Across the English Channel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was even more prescriptive in her kudos note. “The European Commission stands ready to intensify cooperation with the new administration and the new Congress to address pressing challenges we face and notably: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social consequences, tackling climate change together, promoting a digital transformation that benefits people, strengthening our common security, as well as reforming the rules-based multilateral system,” she said in a statement.
I warmly congratulate @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris for their victory in the U.S. Presidential elections.
The EU and the USA are friends and allies, our citizens share the deepest of links. I look forward to working with President-elect Biden.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 7, 2020
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the opportunity to remind the world the two neighbors are first and foremost “close friends, partners, and allies.” During the Trump presidency, that wasn’t always evident. Last December, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” at a NATO summit press conference after Trudeau got caught on a hot mike criticizing the President to other world leaders.
Congratulations, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 7, 2020
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, too, was quick to make his voice heard amid the flurry of warm greetings. Over the past four years, Trump has repeatedly heaped criticism on NATO partner countries for falling behind on their defense spending obligations. In 2018, the New York Times reported that Trump even discussed with his top aides the prospect of pulling the United States out of NATO, a move that would have seriously hobbled the multinational defense alliance.
Such talk seemed like ancient history on Saturday. Stoltenberg said he looked forward to working closely with the new administration, reminding the world, “A strong NATO is good for both North America & Europe.”
I congratulate @JoeBiden on his election as the next U.S. President & @KamalaHarris as Vice President. I know Joe Biden as a strong supporter of our Alliance & look forward to working closely with him. A strong #NATO is good for both North America & Europe https://t.co/Ij3rWtNH5c
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) November 7, 2020
Not to be outdone, congratulations also came in from mayors of major international capitals, from Paris to London, including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Welcome back America! Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris for their election! While we are about to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, this victory symbolizes our need to act together more than ever, in view of climate emergency. 🇺🇸#Election2020
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) November 7, 2020
It’s never clear if a foreign leader gets points for beating the pack to congratulate a new President. But, if so, that honor might go to Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji. He tweeted his congrats almost 12 hours ahead of the official announcement. To be fair, Fiji is 20 hours ahead of Washington, D.C.—maybe he just saw it coming.
Together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency and a global economy to build back better from #COVID19.
Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the #ParisAgreement — ASAP!) pic.twitter.com/mhX9HWR5HI
— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) November 7, 2020
More must-read international coverage from Fortune:
Denmark is culling millions of furry minks to extinguish a worrying COVID-19 outbreak
China is ramping up its other big trade war
The world’s largest surveillance system is growing—and so is the backlash
Who won the election? Putin and Xi, experts say
COVID-19 resurgence sets back Europe’s economic recovery hopes
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com