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Biden to visit American cemetery in France that Trump skipped

In World
June 09, 2024

By Jeff Mason

PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will conclude their trip to France on Sunday with a stop at an American cemetery that former president Donald Trump declined to visit in 2018, drawing widespread criticism.

The Bidens will visit Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km (50 miles) east of Paris, to pay respects to U.S. soldiers and marines killed during World War One.

Biden, a Democrat, is running against Trump, a Republican, for re-election in November. The visit will give him another chance to provide a contrast with his rival.

Trump’s White House said in 2018 that the then-president, who was also on a trip to France, could not visit the cemetery because of bad weather. His chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, a retired general, attended instead, in light rain.

Biden is finishing a five-day trip that included a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day with World War Two veterans in Normandy and a state visit in Paris.

He has made subtle references to Trump without naming him throughout the trip, including in a speech at the Normandy coast site where U.S. Army Rangers scaled a 100-foot cliff during the D-Day landings. Biden has pushed to uphold strong U.S. alliances while Trump has been critical of NATO and threatened not to defend its members if they don’t pay more for their defense.

Asked last week about Biden’s trip to the American cemetery, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said: “He’s not just the president. Right? He’s the commander-in-chief.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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