Biden stops at WWI cemetery Trump didn’t visit to honor US troops

Written by on June 10, 2024

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(PARIS) — President Joe Biden on Sunday visited a World War I cemetery outside Paris where American troops are buried as his last stop on his trip to France.

The visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery was notable, as it draws a contrast with former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 declined to visit the same cemetery, citing bad weather. Later reports, however, claimed Trump described those buried there as “suckers” and “losers.”

Trump adamantly denies ever saying that, but Biden has often repeated the story as an example of why he feels Trump is unfit to be commander in chief.

When asked why he wanted to visit this cemetery in particular, Biden appeared to make a dig at Trump.

“The idea that I come to Normandy and not make the short trip here to pay tribute?” Biden responded.

“And it’s the same story, think about it. America showed up. America showed up to stop the Germans. America showed up to make sure that they did not prevail. And America shows up when we need it, just like our allies show up for us,” the president added.

Biden declined to go after Trump directly when asked specifically about his criticism of Trump for not visiting the cemetery, saying only “any other questions?” before explaining the personal impact visits to military cemeteries have on him.

“You know, I don’t want to make this personal. Every time I show up at a military site where veterans are buried brings back memories, and my grandfather and my mother talked about the loss of their son and brother in the South Pacific. And I think my son Beau. And so, you know, I think it is a measure of a country’s support for democratic values, and they honor those who have risked their life and lost their life,” he said.

Reflecting on the trip, the president said the most poignant moment of the visit was to Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, and that he hoped what Americans took away from his trip was “the knowledge that the best way to avoid these types of battles in the future is to stand strong with our allies.”

“The idea that we’ve become semi-isolationist now, which some are talking about. I mean, the idea we had to wait all those months just to get the money for Iraq, that we because we’re waiting, I mean, it’s just — it’s just it’s not who we are. It’s not who America is,” Biden said, appearing to mistake Iraq for Ukraine and rebuking the rising hesitancy in the GOP to have a muscular presence abroad.

Before taking questions, the president stood for a moment before a memorial wreath, crossed himself and solemnly bowed his head before walking back to first lady Jill Biden to listen to a rendition of “Taps,” saluting the memorial as it played.

The president will now head back to the United States.

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