US elections

Estonian minister resigns over Biden ‘dirtbag’ remarks

Estonian minister resigns over Biden ‘dirtbag’ remarks

MART HELME. In this file photo taken on April 24, 2019, Mart Helme gives a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia. File photo by Raigo Pajula/AFP

AFP

Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme resigns after his comments about the US election – and calling Joe Biden a 'dirtbag' – sparked outrage from government colleagues

Estonia’s far-right Interior Minister Mart Helme resigned on Monday, November 9, after his comments about the US election, calling Joe Biden a “dirtbag,” sparked outrage from government colleagues.

Helme told reporters he was stepping down to preserve the governing coalition but added: “You can’t muzzle me, no one can muzzle me.”

“I’ve done nothing that would endanger Estonian security,” he said, after warnings from the defense minister that the Baltic state depends on the US to help guarantee its security.

Helme and his son, Finance Minister Martin Helme, respectively the vice-chair and chairman of the EKRE party, made the comments on their Sunday radio show.

“I believe there can be no question that these elections were falsified,” Martin Helme said on the show.

“If this works, if Trump is taken down, the US constitution will no longer be in effect.”

Mart Helme said the “deep state” had helped Biden win and called him a “corrupt dirtbag” without giving any evidence for his assertions.

Defence Minister Juri Luik had said the comments “undermine Estonian security and threaten to deteriorate US-Estonian relations,” in a statement quoted by public broadcaster ERR.

“Taking into account the Estonian geopolitical situation, our relationship with the US is of existential importance,” he was quoted as saying.

Luik said the Helmes’ comments “definitely” undermined the governing coalition agreement.

Since the 2019 elections, Estonia has been ruled by a coalition between the Centre Party, EKRE and the conservative Isamaa party.

Estonia, which neighbors Russia, receives security assistance from the United States and hosts NATO’s cyber defense center as well as a British-led NATO multinational battlegroup.

President Kersti Kaljulaid warned the comments could “break and demolish” the relations with allies on which Estonian security depends.

Kaljulaid and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas have both congratulated Biden on the victory. – Rappler.com

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