Presidential historian Michael Beschloss praised President Biden’s “presidential bravery” for his surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday, comparing him to Presidents Washington and Lincoln on the battlefield.
Biden made the unannounced trip to Ukraine to discuss the ongoing war against Russia with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as it enters its second year. While the visit received mixed reactions online, Beschloss celebrated Biden while appearing on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut,” likening him to Lincoln during the Civil War.
“Yeah, I think what Biden did today goes straight through two centuries of proud American history. Just what you said earlier, Joy. Presidents – let’s say LBJ and Nixon used to go to Vietnam, but they would appear on an American air base that was pretty well controlled. To find a day of this kind of presidential bravery in a war zone, you have to go back to 1864, July, when Abraham Lincoln as president went to see confederate soldiers who were firing on Washington, D.C. on the brink of taking it over,” Beschloss said.
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Although Beschloss and host Joy Reid singled out Biden as being uniquely brave for his trip, surprise visits to war-torn nations have regularly occurred in the modern age. President George W. Bush famously visited Iraq eight months after the war began in 2003.
Despite this, Beschloss insisted that a president visiting a war-zone was a brave, rare occurrence reaching back to George Washington’s administration.
He continued, “1814, James Madison is president. This is how rare this is. Went to Bladensburg, Maryland, an area that we both know pretty well, Joy. And there was a battle of Bladensburg. The Brits were just about to conquer Washington, D.C., just as they were as an enemy soldier, group of enemy soldiers was in 1864. So James Madison went on the battlefield and said, ‘You know, I’m president. I’m showing how determined we are to resist that.'”
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“It goes back to one other thing. George Washington in 1754, before he was president, long before, was in the French and Indian War of all things and he was in danger of being killed himself. He wrote to his brother, the bullets whistled past me, and I found something charming in the sound,” he continued.
“That’s what presidential bravery in wartime is. Joe Biden goes all the way back to that,” Beschloss insisted.
While Biden’s visit was not the first time a president traveled to a war zone, his appearance marked the first time a president visited a war zone that did not involve U.S. soldiers.
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During his visit, Biden also pledged nearly $500 million in additional security including additional rocket system ammunition, mortar and artillery rounds, radar equipment, anti-armor weaponry, four Bradley Fighting Vehicles, two tactical vehicles for equipment recovery, Claymore anti-personnel mines, demolition munitions, night-vision equipment, communications equipment, medical supplies, spare parts and other field equipment.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.