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Brian Mulroney and Joe Biden.

Handout

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says he’s confident Joe Biden will win the U.S. presidential election and seek to bring the country together, ending what he says has been an absence of leadership under Donald Trump.

“My guess now at this hour is that the vice-president is just about a certainty to become the next president of the United States,” he said in an interview Thursday evening at the Brian Mulroney Institute of Public Policy Governance at St. Francis Xavier University.

Mr. Mulroney, who won back-to-back majority governments as leader of the Progressive Conservatives, said he was surprised by the closely fought election. He had assumed Mr. Biden would easily win but credited Mr. Trump for his late-stage campaigning, which fired up Republican voters.

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Mr. Mulroney was a close friend of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and has high praise for Mr. Biden, whom he got to know well when he was prime minister, from 1984-1993, and Mr. Biden was a senior Democratic senator.

He predicted that Mr. Biden, who was well-liked in the Senate and known as a deal-maker, should be able to reach across the aisle to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican. The U.S. is deeply polarized, and both men know there is a need to heal the divisions and “move mountains together.”

“Joe Biden is not a vindictive guy, and when he says he works across the aisle, that’s what he did in the Senate for 30 or 40 years,” Mr. Mulroney said. “Mitch McConnell has said very nice things about Biden, as have Lindsey Graham and others. I think you will find a greater deal of co-operation and progress for the United States if Joe becomes president and Mitch McConnell stays there.”

For example, he said, Mr. Biden and Mr. McConnell could make a deal for a massive infrastructure program to kick-start the U.S. economy.

Mr. Mulroney praised Mr. Trump for being an incredible campaigner and for his tax cuts and Middle East peace agreement. But he said Mr. Trump’s “style and lack of empathy” and unkindness ruined his presidency.

“The Republican Party is traditionally free trade, a world leader. Reagan and Bush would lead NATO with both kindness and respect … They would never say anything that he says regularly to his allies. He is abusive to his greatest allies while he is kissy face with the dictators of North Korea, Russia and China.”

Mr. Mulroney said he expects Mr. Trump will run again in 2024 and won’t face serious challengers because he is “widely loved” by Republican voters.

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“He is not leading a party. He is leading a cult. There was a takeover of the Republican Party,” Mr. Mulroney said. “My guess is if, in four years, he wanted to run, unless there is a dramatic change, they would draft him. He would have no opposition with the lamb-like, docile reactions from the other leadership of the party.”

He added that a leader like Mr. Trump, who put illegal immigrant children in cages, could never be successful in Canada.

“If anybody did in Canada what he has just done and has the temerity to run for public office, I want to tell you the guys with the white coats would come after you and they would have a powerful case against you.”

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