Biden speaks at Nato summit amid concerns over his 2024 campaign – live

“It’s a pleasure to host you in this milestone year,” Biden said.

He highlighted the strength of the alliance and progress since he took office.

“Today, Nato is better resourced than it ever has been. I want to pause on this because it’s significant,” he said. More Nato allies now are now paying dues – 2% of their GDP – than ever before.

Joe Biden is now taking the stage for his address.

“History was watching,” when leaders first came together to sign the Nato treaty in 1949, Biden began.

Nato leaders have been emphasising that a record number of members, 23 out of 32, now meet a commitment first agreed 10 years ago to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Trump has repeatedly complained that smaller Nato countries do not “pay their dues” and this year threatened not to defend any country that was “delinquent”.

More recently, allies of Trump have argued that if elected again the Republican would demand a reorientation of Nato where European countries would be asked to increased defence spending further, while the US focuses more on China.

But such is the size of the US defence budget – $860bn, two-thirds of the total of all Nato members – that it would be difficult for European countries to replace a significant reallocation of resources from a Trump White House and to continue supporting Ukraine at the existing level of about €40bn a year.

On Monday Mike Johnson, the speaker of the House of Representatives and a leading Trump ally, said that while Republicans valued the military alliance and would stand by member countries in preventing conflict, “we also believe that Nato needs to be doing more”.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, started by highlighting the history of Nato.

“Our alliance was created by people who have lived through two devastating world wars,” he said. The alliance is “one for all and all for one”, he added.

He also noted that Nato’s alliance was “never a given”.

The event tonight is taking place at the Mellon Auditorium, where the Nato treaty was first signed in 1949.

A highlight reel showing clips from the end of the second world war and the cold war, featuring clips from John F Kennedy, Ronald Regan and finally Joe Biden is playing before Biden takes the stage.

Joe Biden walked on stage, along with Nato allied leaders and Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general.

All eyes will be on the president tonight as he fights to redeem his political prospects and convince skeptics that he can win the election.

The president has said that his performance at the summit, which is commemorating 75 years of the transatlantic alliance and his work at the summit, will be a good way to judge his capabilities.

Today’s speech is especially high stakes. Biden is reeling from a disastrous performance at the presidential debates, and this speech will be his first major public address since then. The public will be watching closely for any flubs.

Biden is likely to highlight his foreign policy record – and his administration’s commitment to strengthening Nato. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has emphasized an “America First” approach and said that he would not defend Nato members if the came under attack. He has also questioned the amount of aid the US has provided to Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion.

Mikie Sherrill, a representative of New Jersey is the seventh congressional Democrat to ask Biden to step down.

“I realize this is hard, but we have done hard things in pursuit of democracy since the founding of this nation. It is time to do so again,” she wrote in a statement.

The White House clarified on Monday that Joe Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physicals, following a heated exchange between the president’s press secretary and journalists seeking an explanation for why a Parkinson’s disease specialist visited the White House eight times in as many months.

In an evening letter the White House physician, Kevin O’Connor, said the specialist, Kevin Cannard, has been a neurology consultant to the White House medical unit since 2012. He said Cannard had visited multiple times a year since then, and that the neurologist was chosen for his breadth of experience and expertise.

“Seeing patients at the White House is something that Dr Cannard has been doing for a dozen years,” O’Connor wrote. “Dr Cannard was chosen for this responsibility not because he is a movement disorder specialist, but because he is a highly trained and highly regarded neurologist here at Walter Reed and across the Military Health System, with a very wide expertise which makes him flexible to see a variety of patients and problems.”

He added that Cannard was the neurologist who had examined Biden for his three annual physicals since becoming president.

Biden’s last medical examination in February had not shown “any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy”, O’Connor wrote.

The letter, which O’Connor said he was releasing with the permission of both Biden and Cannard, followed intense speculation about the president’s cognitive powers following last month’s stumbling performance in a debate with Donald Trump in Atlanta, in which he repeatedly appeared confused and lost his train of thought.

Later today, Joe Biden will be speaking at the Nato summit in Washington, DC. Dan Sabbagh and Andrew Roth report:

World leaders flew into Washington DC on Tuesday for a two-day Nato summit where they are expected to agree to enhanced military support for Ukraine against a backdrop of questions about Joe Biden’s mental sharpness.

Britain’s new prime minister, Keir Starmer, and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, were among those arriving at the US capital amid a warning that Russia could step up missile strikes on Ukraine this week, repeating a barrage that killed at least 38 on Monday.

The summit is expected to agree to a fresh package of military aid for Ukraine, including at least four additional Patriot air defence systems and progress on supplying F-16 fighters, to help Kyiv better fend off devastating Russian attacks.

Concerns about Biden and his ability to defeat Trump hang over the summit, given Trump’s past scepticism about Nato and uncertainty about whether he would be willing to continue to supply large volumes of military aid.

Nato leaders have been emphasising that a record number of members, 23 out of 32, now meet a commitment first agreed 10 years ago to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Trump has repeatedly complained that smaller Nato countries do not “pay their dues” and this year threatened not to defend any country that was “delinquent”.

More recently, allies of Trump have argued that if elected again the Republican would demand a reorientation of Nato where European countries would be asked to increased defence spending further, while the US focuses more on China.

Democrats in Washington continued to scramble over the party’s prospects in November as focus remained on Joe Biden’s ability to lead and keep the White House. But no groundswell has formed against the president, and it appeared most Democrats would remain quiet while Biden stayed on the ticket.

Here’s what has happened so far today:

  • After a Senate Democrats lunch meeting, Democrats tried to avoid most direct questions about Biden, with some saying they were united in defeating Trump, sidestepping Biden’s role in that. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator John Fetterman both reiterated they were with Biden, but it was far from a universal view. Vermont senator Peter Welch said “we’ve got a ways to go” to find a consensus.

  • The White House defended against repeated questions about Biden’s health and mental acuity, and the White House’s candor (or lack thereof) on these issues, in a press briefing. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said Biden is committed to serving a full four years again and is physically and mentally able to, according to his medical team. Several questions revolved around Parkinson’s disease, with reporters pressing over why Biden has not been screened for it. Jean-Pierre said his medical team doesn’t believe testing is warranted.

  • House Democrats left a meeting this morning about Biden’s fate downtrodden, with many not giving comment to waiting reporters. Some key players – like the Congressional Black Caucus and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez – stood by Biden. But one representative, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, said that not only is the party not on the same page about Biden, but they are “not even in the same book”.

  • Biden and House speaker Mike Johnson both confirmed they will meet at some point this week with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy with the Nato summit in town.

  • Coming up today, Biden is expected to speak at Nato, while Trump is expected to hold a rally in Florida, a return to the campaign trail after acting more subdued after Biden’s debate performance.

Senate Democrats were tightlipped leaving their weekly lunch, after an hours-long discussion about the viability of Biden’s candidacy. Few wanted to speak to reporters, save for Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who stressed Democrats were firmly united behind the goal of defeating Donald Trump.

Of course, the question is whether Biden is the candidate that can do that.

Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, one of the president’s most vocal supporters following his debate, believes he is, though he appeared to acknowledge his view was not universally held among his colleagues. “He’s our guy,” Fetterman told reporters.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer deflected questions about Biden’s ability to win the White House in November, repeating three times: “I’m with Joe.”

Just like this morning, several senators dodged reporters, darting to the Senate floor to vote or ducking onto the elevator.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who is retiring at the end of the year, declined repeatedly to say whether some Democrats had called on Biden to exit the race. So far no Democrats have said so publicly.

Calling the meeting a “private family discussion” she said Biden had been “the best president Michigan has ever had” but would not say what the best path forward was for the party. “It’s in his hands,” she said, apparently in reference to the president.

A reporter, trying a different tack, asked her about speculation that Michigan’s governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, could be Kamala Harris’s running mate on a very hypothetical Democratic ticket.

“Wouldn’t that be exciting,” she said whimsically.

Through the senators’ reticent, clipped commentary, it was clear they were still searching for a consensus. Surrounded by a scrum of reporters, Vermont senator Peter Welch said: “We’ve got a ways to go.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the decision to call in to MSNBC and call donors this week was Biden’s because he wants to talk directly to the American people.

“He’s on fire, he’s ready to go,” she said. “He wants to get out there.”

Biden wants to do more appearances and talk to the press more to prove he can continue to do the work of the presidency, she said.

She said Biden is accustomed to being counted out, with people saying several times in past elections that he couldn’t win, pointing to the 2020 election.

Fighting past those claims is the “quintessential Joe Biden story,” she said, concluding the press briefing.

Did Biden watch the debate himself? Biden said during an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos last week that he didn’t think he did.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said she had not followed up with Biden on this but intended to.

“I’m sure he’s seen clips,” she said. “It’s getting around-the-clock coverage, right, from all of you.”

The White House said Joe Biden is committed to serving a full four years if he wins in November.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said a comment that Biden made about how his health was good, “it’s just my brain,” was a joke.

“He was making a lighthearted joke as he was speaking off the cuff,” she said. “You know the president, he likes to joke a lot. He’s the same guy who says, I know I look 40.”

She also has been defending against repeated questions over Biden’s health and neurological exams, particularly as it relates to concerns of Parkinson’s disease that some in the press have raised.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, is defending against calls from some members of Congress for Biden to end his re-election bid or saying they are concerned about his ability to beat Trump in November.

She noted the hundreds of members of Congress who had stood beside Biden as the nominee.

“We do want to turn the page. You heard me say this last week. We want to get to the other side of this. We want to continue doing the work, and that’s what the president’s going to do,” she said.

A White House press briefing is under way, with the White House confirming that Joe Biden will meet with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

You can stream the press briefing live on YouTube.

A new poll has some Democrats fretting over the drag Biden could have on Democrats in close races, an ongoing worry in swing districts about the lower-ticket races that could be in jeopardy if voters defect from Democrats or stay home in November.

The poll of Wisconsin voters commissioned by the AARP after the presidential debate shows a shocking gap between Biden’s support and support for Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat running for US Senate there. Baldwin grabbed 50% of voters compared to Republican Eric Hovde’s 45%.

But Biden is trailing, with 38% to Trump’s 44%.

It’s just one poll – it’s always good to keep that in mind. But this is the same voters polled on Baldwin and Biden, and the gap has Democrats concerned.

Source: US Politics -


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