Biden steps up in speech at historic WWII site


Knock Joe Biden all you want, but he did deliver a forceful speech at the 80th commemoration of the June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion last week.

He was the mouse that roared.

Out to show his country and the world that he is still up to the job of president, the 81-year-old commander in chief got through the speech all right.

Which was not easy thing given the effects of jet lag on his aging body and mind, in addition to everything else Biden had going on, including the trial and tribulations of his gun-toting, coke addict son Hunter.

As someone who has flown to Europe more than 40 times, (one time going on a troopship) I can attest how jet lag can do a number on you. It is exhausting, and only gets worse with age.

Add to that was that Biden was following in the deep footsteps of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, both of whom gave soaring speeches at their Normandy commemorative appearances.

“An aged man is but a paltry thing,” Irish poet W.B. Yeats once observed, “a tattered coat upon a stick, unless. Soul clap hands and sing, and louder sing…”

Biden did not sing or soar or clap anything even though he got through reading what someone had written for him all right.

The only things that soared or sang, though, were the planes flying overhead and the artillery booming out a 21-gun salute.

The problem for Biden was visual. Television cameras from around the world showed that Biden can barely walk a straight line without holding on to the hands of his wife, First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden did not know when and where to sit upon the stage when he got there or how to leave without her assistance, while French President Emmanuel Macron bounced around the stage as though performing.

U.S. veterans of the bloody invasion — all in their 90s now — wearing baseball caps with their military units emblazoned on them — were invigorated when Biden spoke to them or shook hands.

Yet, Biden, had he donned a baseball cap, would have fit right in with them, although he was only two years old when the Normandy invasion took place, and they were in their teens.

At times, though, Biden looked as though he were among the walking wounded.

For many of the heroes of the battle it was their last visit to Normandy and could also be the last for Biden as president.

Despite the strong military and pro-NATO Biden rhetoric, it is always interesting to note, especially if you are a combat veteran, how few U.S. presidents who do the honoring at Normandy are veterans, let alone combat veterans, unless of course you count presidential debates as combat.

Of those there are many.

Coming as it did, Biden’s appearance at Normandy and Pointe du Hoc was eye-catching in the middle of a series of negative developments.

Ponte du Hoc is a high cliff that overlooks Omaha Beach where the Germans had artillery looking down. U.S Rangers, coming under heavy fire, climbed the cliff and captured the site. Many of them were killed in the operation.

It was a marvelous achievement, and Biden was right to pay homage to the troops who pulled it off even though he pilfered from Reagan’s great “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc” speech in 1984.

It was about as good as Biden can get given his problems.

And he needed it. Not only did he dispatch Jill Biden to fly home to attend Hunter’s trial, but he had also to deal with the fallout from negative stories in The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine questioning his obvious decline both mentally and physically.

The stories were an escalation over Special Counsel Robert Hurs classified documents report that described Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

Biden may be too old for the job, but don’t ask him about it, as the Time reporters did. In the spirit of Pointe du Hoc, the octogenarian Biden replied, “I can do it better than anybody you know. You’re looking at me. I can take you too.”

Go get ‘em, Tiger.

Peter Lucas is a veteran political reporter. Email him at: peter.lucas@bostonherald.com

 

U.S. President Ronald Reagan delivers a speech at the Pointe du Hoc Memorial in Normandy, France, June 6, 1984, during commemorative ceremonies of the 40th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy in 1944. First lady Nancy Reagan can be seen at right, seated facing the president. (AP Photo)
U.S. President Ronald Reagan delivers a speech at the Pointe du Hoc Memorial in Normandy, France, June 6, 1984, during commemorative ceremonies of the 40th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy in 1944. First lady Nancy Reagan can be seen at right, seated facing the president. (AP Photo)

 



Source link

Leave a Comment