Biden warns against ‘semi-isolationism’ and stresses importance of alliances at WWI cemetery in France

President Joe Biden warned against a streak of “semi-isolationism” in the US as he stressed the importance of alliances during a symbolic visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery on Sunday, honoring the thousands of Americans who died in World War I at a site former President Donald Trump skipped during a 2018 visit to Paris.

“The idea that we’re able to avoid being engaged in major battles in Europe is just not realistic. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to have the alliances we have, continue to beef up those alliances, continue to keep NATO strong, continue to do what we’ve been able to do for the last – since the end of World War II,” Biden told reporters after participating in a wreath-laying ceremony.

Asked whether he believes that Americans’ views of alliances are changing, Biden spoke broadly, but appeared to misspeak as he pointed to delayed congressional aid for Iraq, rather than Ukraine.

“I think Americans hold the view – I think there’s a new a rising sense of some in the country wanting to let that slip. The idea that we become semi-isolationist now, which some are talking about? I mean, the idea we had to wait all those months just to get the money for Iraq and we … because we’re waiting – I mean, it just – it just – it’s not who we are. It’s not who America is,” Biden said.

The president has repeatedly cast blame on congressional Republicans for delaying aid to Ukraine, and personally apologized to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the holdup earlier this week.

Biden said Sunday it was important for him to make the trip to Aisne-Marne to pay tribute as a show of support for alliances.

“The idea that I come to Normandy and not make the short trip here to pay tribute … think about it. America showed up. America showed up to stop the Germans. America showed up to make sure that they did not prevail. And America shows up when we’re needed. Just like our allies show up for us,” he said, offering an implicit criticism of Trump, whom he did not name.

Biden has repeatedly criticized Trump for skipping the Aisne-Marne stop during his own trip. That trip was scrapped due to weather conditions and safety issues. The president’s Marine One helicopter cannot fly in low cloud cover, a decision that is made by military and security officials. But there did not appear to be a backup plan, and Trump did not make any statements of regret over not being able to visit the cemetery.

Biden, when asked what he hopes Americans take away from the trip, reiterated, “Knowledge that the best way to avoid these kinds of battles in the future is to stay strong with our allies. Do not break.”

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at