Following President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday, left-wing presidential historian Michael Beschloss likened the president’s “bravery” to that of legendary U.S. Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Appearing on Monday night’s broadcast of MSNBC’s The ReidOut, the network’s presidential historian told host Joy Reid that “what Biden did today goes straight through two centuries of proud American history.”
While presidents such as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon would visit Vietnam, they would only “appear on an American air base that was pretty well-controlled,” he noted.
Beschloss first compared Biden with America’s sixteenth president, widely regarded as the greatest of all time:
To find a day of this kind of presidential bravery in a war zone, you’ve got to go all the way back to 1864, July, when Abraham Lincoln as president went to see confederate soldiers who were firing on Washington, DC, on the brink of taking it over. And literally, Lincoln got up and some guy behind him who didn’t know it was the president said, “Get down, you fool.” And Lincoln turned around, and I wouldn’t have liked to be that guy seeing the president’s face of disdain asking who the guy was.
“But Lincoln was there to show determination, to see the Civil War through,” he added.
The award-winning historian then likened Biden to James Madison, a Founding Father and the nation’s fourth president, who is hailed as the “father” of the Constitution:
[In] 1814, James Madison is president — this is how rare this is — [and] went to Bladensburg, Maryland … and there was a battle of Bladensburg, the Brits were just about to conquer Washington, DC, just as … a group of enemy soldiers was in 1864. So, James Madison went on the battlefield and said, “I’m President; I’m showing how determined we are to resist the Brits.”
Lastly, Beschloss drew a comparison between the “bravery” of Biden and that of the first president of the United States.
“It goes back to one other thing,” he said. “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.’”
“That’s what presidential bravery in wartime is,” he concluded. “Joe Biden goes all the way back to that.”
The remarks come as the establishment media continue to gush over Biden’s Monday visit to Ukraine ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country.
The Associated Press’s Evan Vucci, John Leicester, Aamer Madhani, and Zeke Miller praised Biden’s eighth trip to Ukraine, describing it as “a defiant display of Western solidarity with a country still fighting what he called ‘a brutal and unjust war…’”
The New York Times’ Marc Santora, Peter Baker, and Michael D. Shear deemed Biden’s return trip “a dramatic moment captured on video that underscored the investment the United States has made in Ukraine’s independence.”
“Since Abraham Lincoln rode to the front lines outside Washington to watch battles in Northern Virginia during the Civil War, no sitting president has gotten that close to combat,” they wrote.
Democrat and former sports commentator Keith Olbermann dubbed the trip a shock.
“BREAKING NEWS: Biden’s shock visit this morning to Ukraine:
Listen to the podcast HERE: https://t.co/jOxVwyr0nO pic.twitter.com/s9CbPnZO4h
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 20, 2023
The Atlantic’s Eliot Cohen claimed the visit mattered just as much as “long-range missiles,” [and] “super-accurate artillery shells, the surface-to-air missiles” deployed in the decades-long geopolitical power struggle.
NBC News’s Peter Nicholas championed the visit as a “historic” trip that displayed “support and solidarity with a democratic nation.”
The tax-funded NPR claimed the trip was “audacious” but only “somewhat risky.”
“President Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, an audacious and somewhat risky trip aimed at expressing solidarity with Ukrainians as Russia’s invasion of their country heads into a second year,” Joanna Kakissis and Deepa Shivaram wrote.
Meanwhile, several Republicans in Congress criticized the visit, taking issue with the president appearing to place the Ukraine-Russia conflict ahead of Americans’ worries about the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio and the surge in illegal migration at the southern border.
“When our border is in crisis, Joe Biden goes home to nap in Delaware. When Ohio burns with toxic chemicals, Biden’s admin says everything is fine,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, calling out the president for “ditching America for Ukraine.”
When our border is in crisis, Joe Biden goes home to nap in Delaware.
When Ohio burns with toxic chemicals, Biden’s admin says everything is fine.
So on Presidents’ Day, I’m not surprised that Biden is ditching America for Ukraine. He ditched America’s interests since the… https://t.co/svkwSunZTJ
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 20, 2023
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) ripped Biden as an “America Last fool,” going as far as to call for his impeachment.
“If you want to understand why so many Americans are frustrated right now: Biden is in Ukraine before Ohio,” Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) said.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.