Biden's European trip already a clown show

Despite the happy face the legacy media are putting on the first day of President Biden's European trip, his customary level of hypocrisy and incompetence is showing through the P.R. gloss.

Start with the spectacle of a leader intent on demonstrating "leadership" on climate issues (as in throwing away billions of taxpayer dollars on useless, expensive, and harmful measures to curtail emissions of CO2) parading into Rome with an 85-car slow-moving motorcade, after four giant jets carried the party to Fiumicino Airport via transatlantic flights.  China's President Xi Jinping, in contrast, will be attending the G-20 Summit in Rome today via video link, sparing the atmosphere many tons of CO2 for transportation.  To be sure, China is building coal-fired electricity generation facilities at a breakneck speed, but he gets bragging rights on conserving energy compared to Biden's extravagant emissions.

Joe and Dr. Jill had hoped for a lot of live TV time with Pope Francis to kick off Friday's round of events, but

[t]he Vatican on Thursday abruptly canceled the planned live broadcast of U.S. President Joe Biden meeting Pope Francis, the latest restriction to media coverage of the Holy See that sparked complaints from White House- and Vatican-accredited journalists.

The live broadcast of Biden's Friday visit was trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president's motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the revised plan reflected the "normal procedure" established during the coronavirus pandemic for all visiting heads of state or government. (snip)

Cancelled was the live coverage of Biden actually greeting Francis in the palace Throne Room, as well as the live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private talks in Francis' library, at which time the cameras would have stopped running.

The Vatican said it would provide edited footage of the encounter after the fact to accredited media. Bruni didn't say why the Vatican had originally announced fuller live coverage only to dial it back on the eve of the visit.

Rumors were that the Vatican feared Joe bringing up the issue of his receiving Communion despite endorsing abortion on demand, putting the Holy Father on the spot.  Whatever the motives for the Vatican, after the private meeting, Joe was free to make his own claims:

President Biden told reporters on Friday that Pope Francis had called him a "good Catholic" and said he should keep receiving communion, an unexpected development that appeared to put a papal finger on the scale in a debate raging in the United States' Roman Catholic Church over whether the president and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied the sacrament.

In response to reporters who asked if Francis had told him during their private 75-minute audience at the Vatican whether he should keep receiving communion, Mr. Biden replied, "Yes."

Asked to confirm Mr. Biden's remarks, Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, said the Holy See limited its comments to the news release about subjects discussed during the meeting and added, "It's a private conversation."

In other words, the Vatican would neither confirm nor deny the account offered by Biden.

Next on the agenda were meetings with the president and prime minister of Italy, the host country, described by the New York Times as "drama-free."

Such was not the case for the next and final public item on the agenda: a meeting with France's President Macron.  The body language and public words spoken by the two men were relatively cordial.

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab.

During the press availability, Macron said, ''this is very much the beginning of a process of trust, of confidence, which we're building together.''  When asked by a reporter if the relationship between the two nations had been repaired following France's temporary recall of its ambassador over America elbowing France out of a huge contract to build a fleet of submarines for Australia, Biden fessed up:

Well, the answer is: I think what happened was — to use an English phrase, what we did was ''clumsy.'' It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression certain things had happened that hadn't happened.

Such a public confession of being uninformed about what his government was doing with regard to a key ally could hardly have been reassuring to Macron — or to American citizens, for that matter.

But what Macron said after the meeting amounted to a rebuke of Biden's behavior and unease as to whether he would really follow through:

''Trust is like love: Declarations are good, but proof is better,'' Macron said.

That's about as close to ''put up or shut up'' as leaders of allied countries get in public statements.

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