President Biden landed in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, the first stop on his three-nation European trip. The president will begin by meeting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Thursday, then the three-day G-7 summit that begins Friday in southwest England. Yamiche Alcindor is traveling with the president, and joins Judy Woodruff from Plymouth with more.
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President Biden landed in the United Kingdom this afternoon, the first stop on his three-nation European trip.
He will begin by meeting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tomorrow, then the three-day G7 summit that begins Friday in Southwest England.
Mr. Biden spoke a short time ago to American forces at RAF Mildenhall. It's a British Air Force installation.
President Joseph Biden:
The United States is back, and the democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future, that we're committed to leading with strength, defending our values, and delivering for our people.
Democracy doesn't happen by accident. We have to defend it. We have to strengthen it, renew it. And I know that the American people are up to this job.
Our Yamiche Alcindor is traveling with the president, and joins me now from Plymouth.
So hello to Yamiche, to you, and safe travels.
First of all, tell us about what the president's hoping to accomplish on this trip. And what are the main concerns as he meets with American allies in Europe?
Well, Judy, I'm so happy to join you, especially because some cicadas at one point were delaying our plane. But we are here now in the U.K.
Yes, and people heard me right, cicadas.
That aside, President Biden, for his first overseas trip as commander in chief, is really coming to a group of European leaders who are familiar with him. Experts tell me this is going to be a sort of lovefest. But it's also going to feel like a family reunion.
And if anyone's ever been to a family reunion, that means there will be love, but there will also be drama. There are a lot of European leaders who want to talk about trade, who want to talk about COVID vaccines and the role that the U.S. is playing, with the president expected to make some announcements on that front.
There's also going to be talk with China and how to deal with it. But the president is really trying to come here to really underscore the fact that America is back, that diplomacy is something that he's going to embrace, and that America is once again going to be embracing NATO and the G7 and all of our European allies, something that his predecessor really was hostile toward.
So, Yamiche, you used the word drama.
What are the most contentious issues expected to be with — in his meetings with the European leaders, ahead of his meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia?
Well, President Biden has known some of these European leaders for up to three decades. He's been long working on issues of foreign policy.
So there are going to be real hefty talks about trade, especially when it comes to talking about the difference between make America great again, as well as buy American first. There are European leaders who are really wondering if there's going to be more American protectionism on that front.
There's also going to be this feeling of whether or not President Biden is a sort of placeholder, because of all of the drama and all of the real contention that was there when former President Trump was coming to the NATO — was coming to NATO and G7.
These European leaders are going to be a bit cagey, and they really want to know if they can trust America again. And that's really a long-term issue that President Biden's going to have to deal with. And then, of course, ahead of his meeting with Vladimir Putin, there's going to be a lot of talk about January 6 and the idea that there are real issues with American democracy right now, with the gridlock in Washington.
So these European leaders are going to be wanting to talk about the state of American democracy. That said, the president got a big, big applause today when he was talking to U.S. troops, saying that he came to talk to Vladimir Putin about the things that he wants to let him know. There were no details there.
But what you saw there was really a tone that was going to be firm. And the president, in some ways, has been saying that he's there to talk frankly to Vladimir Putin. So there's real expectations on that front.
And we heard some of that just a few moments ago.
Yamiche Alcindor, who will be covering all of President Biden's trip into next week.
Thank you, Yamiche.