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Jun 9, 2024, 1:46pm EDT
Europe
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Semafor Signals

Biden’s Normandy trip draws parallels with Reagan, contrasts with Trump

Insights from Le Monde, The Washington Post, and Politico

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U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend a wreath laying ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France.
REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
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The News

US President Joe Biden visited an American military cemetery in France on Sunday as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, skipped the visit during a similar trip in 2018 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. A former senior official said Trump reportedly called the fallen American soldiers buried there “suckers” and “losers.”

Biden’s visit capped a five-day trip to Europe as part of the commemorations.

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Biden draws parallels to Reagan

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Source:  
The Washington Post

On the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, where, 80 years ago, troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, Biden channeled — perhaps ironically — Ronald Reagan, the former Republican president who spoke at the 40th D-Day anniversary. In 1984, during the Cold War, Reagan spoke out against isolationism and in favor of being prepared against threats. Biden was in the Senate when Reagan was president and largely opposed his politics, but in Normandy on Sunday, “Biden’s internationalism has far more in common with Reagan and the Republican Party of 40 years ago than with Trump’s “America First” doctrine that questions alliances, bends toward authoritarian leaders and points to an American retreat from leadership in the world,” The Washington Post’s Dan Balz wrote.

Trump was not present, but he was top of mind

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Sources:  
Associated Press, Axios, Le Monde, Roll Call

Donald Trump was an “unspoken yet unavoidable presence” during Biden’s trip, the Associated Press noted. In speeches, Biden spoke against “dictatorship” and isolationism, and in favor of democracy and freedom. “Each reference to democracy stood a counterpoint to his rival’s efforts to overturn a presidential election,” the AP wrote. The visit forms part of a larger push by the Biden campaign to highlight his contrasts to Trump; the campaign released two ads during the France trip spotlighting Trump’s past comments about military veterans. Biden also drew a line between D-Day and the Ukraine war, and apologized to Zelenskyy for the delay in sending aid — another reminder Trump is skeptical of continuing sending funds and weapons to Kyiv.

For France, visit highlights Biden dynamic, geopolitical situation

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Sources:  
Bloomberg, Politico

The visit was full of warm gestures between Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, but there was little substantive headway made on critical issues facing the allies. Biden refused to send military trainers to Ukraine, as Macron had proposed, and offered “nothing but rhetoric” on trade, Bloomberg noted, when they agreed to further cooperate to counter China’s economic power. Ultimately, Biden and Macron have “come to trust each other” and share a “genuine warmth,” Politico reported, and both leaders are united in their goal of stopping Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump looms over their dynamic, too: Ahead of Trump’s possible return to the White House, Macron has pushed aggressively to ratchet up the bloc’s collective defense.

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