Biden makes veiled allusions to Trump in D-Day speech about democracy

President Joe Biden on Friday urged the current generation of Americans to heed the example of the Greatest Generation by defending democracy at home and abroad in a speech rife with allusions to his 2024 election opponent.

Speaking from the same location where then-president Ronald Reagan honored the “boys of Pointe du Hoc” four decades earlier, Biden channeled the memory of the US Army Rangers who’d fought their way up the sandy heights to open a hole in Nazi Germany’s so-called Atlantic Wall and cast the contemporary tensions between democracy and modern authoritarian movements as a similar battle.

His remarks, while official in nature, came at a time when he is seeking to cast Trump as a grave threat to democracy allied with the same authoritarian forces that Americans have fought in generations past.

“As we gather here today, it’s not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery that day June 6, 1944 — it’s to listen to the echo of their voices. To hear them. Because they are summoning us,” he said.

As he invoked the memory of the soldiers who’d climbed up the sheer cliffs while facing German gunfire 80 years ago to defeat the “hateful ideology” of Nazism, Biden suggested — without mentioning Trump’s name — that those honored veterans would have sided against him in the present time.

He asked: “Does anyone doubt they would move heaven and earth to vanquish hateful ideologies of today?”

“They’re asking us what will we do. They’re not asking us to scale these cliffs. They’re asking us to stay true to what America stands for,” he said, adding that the current generation is “the fortunate heirs” of those departed heroes.

“We must also be the keepers of their mission ... the bearers of the flame of freedom they kept burning bright,” he said.

Biden’s speech, the second in as many days in which he drew parallels between the Second World War and current conflicts both at home in the US and abroad, came just over 24 hours after he delivered a passionate call for the West to stand by Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian invading forces.

In his Thursday remarks at the American cemetery overlooking the beaches where British, American, and Canadian soldiers landed in France and began the fight to liberate Europe, he told an audience that included dignitaries and nearly three dozen veterans of the battle fought 80 years ago that their war against fascism is echoed in the fight against Russian aggression being waged by Ukrainian soldiers and their allies today.

“The men who fought here became heroes, not because they’re the strongest or toughest or fiercest, although they were but because they were given an audacious mission, knowing the probability of dying was real. But they did it anyway,” he said.

“They knew ... beyond any doubt that there are things that are worth fighting and dying for: Freedom is worth it. Democracy is worth it. America’s worth it, the world is worth it, then, now and always.”

Earlier in the day on Friday, Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and apologized for the months-long delay in providing his country with much-needed military aid as he announced a new $225 million arms package for Kyiv.

He also praised Zelensky and his people for their steadfast determination over the more than two-year war that began in February 2022.

“You haven’t bowed down. You haven’t yielded at all. You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, just remarkable,” he said.

“We’re not going to walk away from you,” he added.