Biden's Handlers Wanted a 'Gipper Moment' in Normandy, What They Got Was a Disaster

Lou Benoist/Pool Photo via AP

For most people, the 80th anniversary of D-Day was a time for remembrance and celebration. For Joe Biden's handlers, it was an opportunity.

Cynically believing that all the president needed was a shift in messaging, White House staffers studied former President Ronald Reagan's 1984 trip to Normandy. They listened to his monumental speech and saw his triumphant stance atop the cliffs overlooking the beaches. Their response? Surely, they thought, Biden could do this too. 

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In June of 1984, Reagan traveled to France’s northern coast to deliver two speeches memorializing the heroic sacrifices of thousands of American soldiers during World War II. One of them, authored by Peggy Noonan and still remembered for immortalizing “the boys of Pointe du Hoc,” captured the nation’s attention, lifted support for Reagan’s approach to foreign policy and featured heavily in the video introducing him at the GOP convention. Ultimately, it helped carry him to a second term. 

Biden aides are open about their desire for a rerun and inviting comparisons to “The Gipper,” with aides conceding that they have studied the Reagan trip closely and are looking to similarly capture the attention of a distracted, disillusioned public and remind them of how much is still at stake. Not only is Biden expected to echo Reagan in paying homage to these climactic battles for freedom and democracy, he will deliver his remarks from where Reagan stood, on those iconic cliffs where the war turned.

They wanted a "Gipper" moment. What they got was a disaster.

Biden's performance in Normandy was one for the ages, and that's not meant as a compliment. He appeared confused at multiple points, and his speech fell flat, with the president squinting in the sun and speaking with all the energy of a sloth under anesthesia. When it was over, Biden was quickly escorted away by his wife despite French President Emmanual Marcon staying behind to greet the D-Day veterans in attendance. The contrast was stark.

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SEE: Biden's Awkward Moments of Confusion in Normandy


You almost have to respect the audacity of Biden's handlers. For some reason, they thought the man in those clips was capable of flying to another continent to deliver a game-changing speech that would boost his fledgling campaign. There's just one problem: Joe Biden is not Ronald Reagan. 

That's the reality that Biden's handlers simply can't escape. It doesn't matter how good of a speech they write or how air-tight their preparations for a public appearance are. Without a president who is capable of carrying out the plan, it's all for naught. 

To put it more directly, Biden is senile. Expecting him to execute a well-planned messaging shift is like expecting a cat to do long division. It's just not possible. No matter how you dress him up, the president's physical and mental decline shines through. He was never going to show up at Normandy and create a "Gipper" moment because he can't. 

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Where does that leave Democrats? That's a question only they can answer. Do they keep forging ahead with Biden despite his condition, hoping he flips a switch and de-ages somehow, or do they take measures to get him to step aside? The clock is ticking.

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