Last week, we had an item about Joe Biden's planned trip to Poland. In it, we wrote: "Will Biden also go to Ukraine? For security reasons, no one in the government is talking about his exact itinerary other than the stop in Poland. If he does go to Ukraine, that is likely to be announced only after he is safely back home." Well, guess what? Yesterday, he visited Ukraine.
The linked article describes it as a "shock trip," while others emphasize how unexpected it was, how much of a surprise, how unpredictable, etc. But was it really? Once it was clear he would be in Poland, didn't you have to figure it was 95% he'd get to Ukraine? He was so nearby, and the benefits of going—boost Ukrainian morale, send a message to the Russians, photo ops, etc.—were quite substantial. Plus, he's been taking heat from both Democrats and Republicans for not having already visited, and he's clearly sensitive to such things (see, for example, his trip to the Mexican border). The only way Biden would have skipped out on Ukraine was if there was an extremely serious, extremely credible risk to his life. Or if there was a light rain.
No, wait, skip that last part. That's the last guy, not this one. Biden was definitely going, as long as it was reasonably safe for him to do so. The U.S.S.S. worked overtime to make sure that was the case, and so Biden went. After a rather lengthy train trip (10 hours!), the President was in Kyiv for about 5 hours. He toured the city, posed for the aforementioned photo-ops, and met privately with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The dual messages that the U.S. isn't backing down from its support of Ukraine, and that the Russian war effort is not even strong enough to make Kyiv unsafe for a president to visit, were clear as could be.
Naturally, Democrats were full of praise for the president and his boldness in making it to Ukraine. Remarkably, some of the Fox personalities shared in that sentiment. Stuart Varney, for example, said that the visit might be a "game changer," and added "The president suddenly pops up. He suddenly appears in a foreign capital that is under attack. He is sticking it to Putin one year after Russia invaded."
On the other hand, many House Republicans—the same folks who slammed Biden for not visiting Ukraine—were underwhelmed. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) declared that the President clearly cares more about Ukraine than he does about Israel. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) complained that the President clearly cares more about Ukraine than he does about America. Greg Murphy (R-NC) whined that the President clearly cares more about Ukraine than he does about securing the southern Border. Perhaps you see a pattern here. In fact, call us crazy, but we suspect that no matter what Biden did, these fellows would be complaining. It's almost like they are operating in bad faith.
Anyhow, Biden is back in Poland now. And so, as the Romans might say, it's a case of veni, vidi, relicti: "I came, I saw, I left." (Z)