June 7, 2024

What a Difference a President Makes

The comparison between Ronald Reagan’s remarks 40 years ago and Joe Biden’s remarks yesterday couldn’t be more glaring.

Little noticed this week amid yesterday’s 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy was another anniversary just one day earlier: June 5 marked 20 years since the passing of our nation’s 40th president and this publication’s North Star: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

It’s no coincidence that Reagan’s name and words have become more closely associated with D-Day than perhaps even that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was commander-in-chief at the time of the invasion, and who himself offered a magnificent prayer on the grim occasion.

Reagan spoke twice on that day 40 years ago at Normandy: once at Pointe du Hoc, where some 225 U.S. Army Rangers braved German gunners during a harrowing 30-minute ascent of its sheer cliffs, and then later that day at Omaha Beach, which was the site of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of all. And in each case, in both speeches, the man and the message came together with the moment. That’s why we remember Reagan’s remarks, and why we’ll soon forget those of Joe Biden.

“This was an emotional day,” recounted Reagan in Speaking My Mind, his book of selected speeches. “The ceremonies honoring the 40th anniversary of D-Day became more than commemorations. They became celebrations of heroism and sacrifice. This place, Pointe du Hoc, in itself was moving and majestic. I stood there on that windswept point with the ocean behind me. Before me were the boys who 40 years earlier fought their way up from the ocean. Some rested under the white crosses and Stars of David that stretched out across the landscape. Others sat right in front of me.”

Just listening to Reagan’s voice and his words that day is a moving experience. “Behind me,” he said, “is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc.”

Listening to Biden’s voice and words from yesterday? Not so much. Where Reagan’s words seemed heartfelt and natural, Biden’s seemed stiff and forced.

As our Mark Alexander wrote yesterday: “Regrettably, the D-Day anniversary events were sullied with a campaign photo-op drop-in by Joe Biden, who according to The Washington Post, used the event to ‘draw on the memory of allies united against tyranny to highlight the stakes of his campaign and draw a pointed comparison with Donald Trump.’”

We’d hoped that Biden’s speechwriters wouldn’t live down to our expectations by sullying the day with campaign politics, but it wasn’t to be. While Biden delivered a decent speech mostly devoid of politics, and he did so without any colossal flubs, he did warn of “tyranny” and “dictators” and “isolationism” in today’s world. Those remarks had a hint of campaign rhetoric to them. Trump, after all, as Biden disingenuously tells us on the campaign trail, “will be a dictator on Day 1.”

Biden also detoured into a weird rant about Ukraine, where his wastrel son once had a lucrative job selling the Biden “brand.” In doing so, he made an invidious comparison between Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin, a comparison that diminishes the true monstrosity of the former and gives undue “credit” to the latter. Or was Biden comparing Hitler to Trump? It wouldn’t be the first time.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Joe Biden felt it either important or appropriate to mention the war between Ukraine and Russia, and especially to luxuriate in the “staggering” body count of the Russians, who were, after all, our allies in the battle against Nazi Germany, and who, while we were storming the beaches at Normandy, were fighting and dying in appalling numbers on the war’s eastern front. Indeed, for every American who died in World War II, as many as 60 Russians died. Nevertheless, Biden said of his friends the Ukrainians: “They’ve inflicted on the Russian aggress-, they’ve suffered tremendous losses, Russia. The numbers are staggering: 350,000 Russian troops dead or wounded.”

Perhaps, in his diminished state, he forgot that he was at Normandy.

To Biden’s “credit,” we suppose, he didn’t trot out one of his BIG Lies, but the mainstream media are doing it for him. That lie would be the one he occasioned in 2018, when Trump supposedly disparaged our war dead as “suckers” and “losers” and refused to visit Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris. None of that is true. And no one should be surprised.

Today, Biden will have another crack at politicizing that hallowed ground and that monumental day with a speech at Pointe du Hoc. As The Wall Street Journal reports: “President Biden will use the spot where U.S. forces helped turn the tide of World War II to drive home what has become the core argument for his re-election effort: He will preserve democratic freedoms, as American troops did here 80 years ago, while Donald Trump will undermine them.”

We predict it to be a shameful speech — and a speech entirely in keeping with this shameless president.

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