Jakarta. Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said he had the honor of accompanying US President Joe Biden during the G20 Summit in Bali last week and his task was made easier by the guest’s good mood following results from the US midterm elections.
Democrats managed to retain control of the US Senate after its candidate won a crucial race in Nevada on the day when Biden arrived in Bali.
The Democratic president badly needed the Senate results in the face of his low popularity rating and stubborn inflation, as Republicans regained a majority in the House of Representatives.
“It was very important to me that as soon as he arrived he heard something that made him happy,” Sandiaga said during a BTV talk show aired on Tuesday evening.
“So I congratulated him [for the election result] … and he was very happy knowing that the greeter had knowledge about [US] current affairs -- that’s my impression,” the American-educated minister said.
Sandiaga recalled that Biden was surprisingly energetic and fit, far from what he had thought of the US leader before their encounter.
Biden, who turned 80 on Sunday, is the oldest sitting president in US history.
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“He was very relaxed during a walk on Nusa Dua Beach and he told me he would like to stay longer,” Sandiaga told Fristian Griec, the host of BTV’s Obrolan Malam (night talks).
“He said he wanted to come here again next time and stay longer.”
Biden’s participation means a great deal to Indonesia as a host of the summit, and also because he championed the Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiative involving developed countries to help Indonesia transition to clean energy.
“Together, we are mobilizing $20 billion to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions, expand renewable energy, and support workers who are most affected by the transition away from coal, and that can be difficult,” Biden said during the PGII event held on the margins of the G20 Summit.
Before boarding Air Force One for the home flight, Biden thanked the Indonesian government for successfully hosting the summit and praised President Joko Widodo for his “inspiring leadership”, Sandiaga said.