UPDATED: Estonia’s interior minister: Joe Biden and his son are corrupt characters

Mart Helme, the Estonian interior minister and the deputy leader of the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party, also known as EKRE, said on 8 November that Joe Biden was elected president of the United States by the “state” and the president-elect and his son, Hunter Biden, are “corrupt characters”.

Helme discussed the results of the US election together with his son and the leader of EKRE, Martin Helme, and the party’s member of the European Parliament, Jaak Madison, in a weekly radio show their party finances every Sunday on Estonia’s TRE Radio.

“A rigged election”

The EKRE politicians said in the broadcast that they believed the American election results were falsified.

“In my opinion, there is no question that this election is rigged,” Martin Helme, Estonia’s finance minister, said. “I think all normal people should speak out against it. There is no point in talking about any kind of democracy or the rule of law if elections can be so rudely, so blatantly and massively rigged.”

Martin Helme added that “if it goes through, if Trump is removed from power, then the constitution will no longer apply in America”.

Martin Helme, EKRE’s current leader and Estonia’s finance minister, gesturing a white supremacy sign at his swearing-in ceremony in the Estonian parliament, Riigikogu, on 29 April 2019 (Riigikogu).

“Deep state scumbags”

Mart Helme said Joe Biden was elected president by “the state”. “The logic of how the deep state operates is to smuggle in scumbags – corrupt scumbags who can be blackmailed. Joe Biden and Hunter Biden are corrupt characters,” he said.

The EKRE politicians also discussed the possibility of a civil war in the US. Mart Helme said he had had a dream before the election in which “Trump walked across a meadow”. “And then I saw this meadow was covered with guts and intestines. Trump stepped through it. Trump will win eventually – it will come because of a massive struggle, maybe even bloodshed, but justice will prevail in the end,” Estonian interior minister said.

From left to right, Mart Helme, the deputy leader of EKRE and Estonia’s interior minister, prime minister Jüri Ratas and Urmas Reinsalu, Isamaa’s deputy leader and the foreign minister, at the government’s headquarters, Stenbock House, in May 2019. Photo by Stenbock House.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party, known by the acronym EKRE, is a far-right and populist party that first entered the Estonian parliament in 2015, winning seven seats. In the 2019 election, the party more than doubled its seats and currently has 19 MPs. The party was subsequently invited to form the current government with the populist-leaning Centre Party and the centre-right Isamaa. The party’s leading figures have over the years stood out for their use of xenophobic, racist and homophobic rhetoric.

Estonia’s president and prime minister congratulate Biden and Harris

The EKRE leaders – known for their populist and divisive rhetoric – have taken a vastly different stance from the rest of the Estonian politicians. The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, said on Twitter: “Warm congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! Estonia and the United States remain strong allies and committed partners. Looking forward to continuing the excellent Estonian-American bond.” The country’s prime minister, Jüri Ratas, echoed the sentiment: “Warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! 🇺🇸continues to be an important Ally & close friend to 🇪🇪.  Looking forward to continuing our strong cooperation with US.”

The former vice president Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential election when he won the state of Pennsylvania on 7 November and reached 273 electoral votes – three more than the needed 270. He was later declared the winner also in Nevada, raising his electoral tally to 279. 

Jill Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff. Photo by Joe Biden’s official Facebook page.

President-elect Biden’s running mate, now vice president-elect Kamala Harris, will be the first female vice president of the United States and the first woman of colour to hold this position.

The current president, Donald Trump, has however not conceded, but accused the Democrats of electoral fraud and promised a load of lawsuits intended at reversing Biden’s victory.

UPDATED: Kersti Kaljulaid to summon the Estonian Defence Council because of EKRE leaders’ stance

The Estonian president issued a statement on the afternoon of 8 November on the comments of Mart and Martin Helme.

“The verbal assault on the newly elected President of the USA committed by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of the Interior of Estonia today is an attack against Estonian democracy and security. The words of a politician have weight and today two ministers of the Republic of Estonia have decided to use the weight of their words to attack our main ally,” Kersti Kaljulaid said in a statement.

“Estonian security is based on our own defence capabilities and relations with our allies. We have created, nurtured and developed them for many long years under different governments, but today we saw that it is also possible to break and demolish them. American people elect their president without help from our ministers, but the Estonian government must stand for our relations with our allies and our security. Sadly, two members of the government have today sent out a clear message, that this relationship is not of value to them”.

The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid. Photo from the president's Facebook page.
The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid. Photo from the president’s Facebook page.

The president added that “equally unacceptable is sowing doubt on the Estonian electoral system without arguments”. “There can only be one aim – to undermine the trust of our own people against our country. Such behaviour is a threat to our democracy,” Kaljulaid said.

The president said in a statement that she had expressed her views to the Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, and would discuss the matter with the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, and the defence minister, Jüri Luik – and she would call together the Estonian Defence Council.

“Considering that the acts committed by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of the Interior have damaged our relations with our allies and have sowed doubt on the Estonian democratic elections, I will in the next few days call together the Defence Council to form a clear position in these questions. Humanely however I am sad and embarrassed,” the Estonian president said.

Cover: Mart Helme at his manor house in 2008. Photo by Külli Tammes/Wikipedia.

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