President Joe Biden launched his first foreign trip as commander in chief with two promises, vowing to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the United States would return to its status as a leader on the world stage.
Biden pledged in front of roughly 1,000 U.S. troops stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the United Kingdom that he would let Putin “know what I want him to know” when he meets with him next week in Geneva.
“We’re going to communicate that there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the United States, and Europe, and elsewhere,” Biden said at the station north of London on Wednesday.
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The two-term vice president and longtime Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman also repeated his now-familiar warning about autocracies.
“The United States is back, and democracies of the world are standing together,” he said. “Our alliances weren’t built by coercion or maintained by threats — they’re grounded on democratic ideals, shared visions of the future, and where every voice matters.”
The remarks were an implicit criticism of Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
Biden was greeted with extended applause ahead of his first address as president abroad, a speech in which he referred to climate change as one of the country’s greatest national security threats.
“At ease,” Biden told the crowd after his audience continued to stand. “I keep forgetting I’m president.”
It did not take long for him to mention his late son, Beau Biden, who joined the military in 2003 and rose to the rank of major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps as part of the Delaware Army National Guard’s 261st Signal Brigade. The younger Biden was deployed to Iraq for a year in 2008 before he died at the age of 46 from brain cancer in 2015.
“To all you airmen and soldiers, I want to say thank you. We owe you. We’re so damned proud of you,” he said. “I only wish my major was here to thank you as well.”
The president was introduced by his wife, first lady Jill Biden, who will be promoting military service members and their families during their visit.
“Joe, pay attention,” she joked during her remarks.
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The president is in the United Kingdom for the G-7 summit and sideline meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth II. He will fly to Brussels for a NATO summit on Monday and a separate U.S.–European Union meeting on Tuesday before traveling to Switzerland for his Putin talks on June 16.
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Tags: News, Biden, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, White House, Jill Biden, National Security, Vladimir Putin, G7
Original Author: Naomi Lim
Original Location: Biden vows to confront Putin as he embarks on first foreign trip
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