Joe Biden’s first trip to the United Kingdom was off to a rainy, hazy start as bad British weather forced him to cancel a trip to historic St. Michael’s Mount with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and ditch his Marine One helicopter for a motorcade.
Drizzles and fog surrounded the Cornwall region on Wednesday causing the White House and Downing Street to scrap plans for a scenic face-to-face meeting between the two leaders on St. Michael’s Mount, a 17th-century castle on a tidal island just off the coast of Cornwall.
The meeting, instead, will take place on the mainland at Carbis Bay, where the G7 summit is taking place. Additionally, Jill Biden’s previously scheduled tour of the historic castle with Carrie Johnson was cancelled.
At their sitdown, Biden and Johnson will pledge to open a US-UK travel corridor ‘as soon as possible’ and open up Transatlantic travel restrictions.
They will also establish a new ‘Atlantic Charter,’ modelled on the one put together by Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in World War II.
The 1941 Atlantic Charter was devised at sea on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the American ship USS Augusta. Downing Street had planned to send the modern namesake of HMS Prince of Wales along the coast of Cornwall to provided the backdrop for the two leaders’ sit down.
Bad weather also forced Biden to take his motorcade through the small narrow streets of the British countryside on Tuesday night to get from the airport to Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives, where the Bidens are staying during the summit.
Videos shared on social media show the enormous 17-vehicle US motorcade hurtling through the coastal region in southern England.
After landing at New Quay airport, the Bidens scrapped plans for a quick helicopter flight to Tregenna Castle and, instead, had to drive more than an hour to the historic hotel, arriving at 1 am.
His enormous motorcade caused a stir as it drove through the British countryside.
Biden’s huge detail includes dozens of Security Service agents, who can be seen riding several large vehicles, and USSS Electronic Countermeasures Suburban, the jamming truck which is used to counter hostile attacks such as IEDs, anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Bidens landed in RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk Wednesday evening, and addressed US Air Force personnel stationed in Britain before flying to Newquay Airport in Cornwall at the start of his first foreign trip as president.
Fog and bad weather forced President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap plans to meet on the historic St. Michaels Mount, which was covered with mist on Thursday
President Joe Biden and First Lad Jill Biden arrive at Cornwall Airport Newquay on Air Force One and are greeted by Lord Lieutenant Colonel Edward Bolitho ahead of the G7 summit
Military personnel stand on the tarmac as the Bidens arrive on Air Force One at Cornwall Airport Newquay in the fog on Wednesday night
Biden meets British Prime Minister Boris Johnson face-to-face for first time on Thursday
The President and First Lady travelled to the four-star Carbis Bay Hotel, where they stayed last night, in this vehicle
This vehicle is USSS Electronic Countermeasures Suburban, which is used in a presidential motorcade to counter guided attacks, such as IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, and anti-tank guided missiles
Several large vehicles contain dozens of Security Service agents who are there to protect the President and First Lady
There are concerns that the President and the Prime Minister will not get along easily, with Biden allies questioning whether Johnson is an ‘ally’ after he sought close ties with Donald Trump. Biden himself had accused the premier of being a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of his controversial predecessor.
Biden has also sparked fury among senior Brexiteers after he threatened to torpedo British chances of a sweeping new free trade deal with the US if Johnson did not refrain from ‘inflaming tensions’ over the Northern Ireland Protocol, an agreement made with the EU over the province’s economic status.
Under the terms of the protocol, Northern Ireland has effectively remained in the EU Single Market and is bound by the rules of the customs union. However, tensions between Britain and Brussels have flared over the flow of UK-produced chilled meats to Northern Ireland, dubbed the ‘sausage war’.
Swinging heavily on one side, the president used his diplomats to ‘strongly urge’ Britain to ‘stay cool’ and reach an agreement with the EU, even if that meant making ‘unpopular compromises’ – thought to be political ones.
He even seemed to threaten the possibility of a future trade deal, claiming that Britain accepting demands to stick to EU agricultural rules would mean the issue would not ‘negatively affect the chances’ of making a pact.
At his meeting with Johnson, the two men will view the original Atlantic Charter before they sign a 21st century version.
The new Atlantic Charter will focus on threats to modern democracies, an agenda item the White House as emphasized ahead of the trip as American worries grow about the growing world influence of Russia and China.
The areas the two leaders will pledge to work together include defending democracy, reaffirming the importance of collective security, and building a fair and sustainable global trading system.
It will also recognize the threats of cyber attacks and climate change.
Biden called climate change a great threat to the world.
‘When I went over to the tank in the Pentagon when I was first was elected vice president with President Obama, the military sat us down and let us know what the greatest threats facing America were, the greatest physical threats,’ he told Air Force personnel stationed at Royal Air Force Maidenhall on Wednesday night.
‘This is not a joke. You know what the Joint Chiefs told us the greatest physical threat facing America was? Global warming,’ he said.
Joe Biden’s 17-vehicle motorcade charged through a sleepy Cornish town in the middle of the night, complete with a bulletproof limo, anti-IED jamming truck, an ambulance and dozens of heavily armed Security Service agents
Biden’s huge security detail includes dozens of Security Service agents, who can be seen in several large vehicles
Police patrol by the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall on June 10, 2021, ahead of the G7 summit
Joe Biden’s G7 schedule includes a meeting with the Queen after summit
President Joe Biden’s first foreign trip as the US leader will feature a meeting with the Queen following the G7 summit. Here’s his full schedule to June 16:
Wednesday, June 9
Biden and his wife, Jill, leave Washington on Wednesday morning. Their first stop in the UK will be at Royal Air Force Mildenhall to greet US Air Force personnel stationed there. Mildenhall is home to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the only permanent US Air Force air refueling wing in the European theater.
Thursday, June 10
Biden will meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson at St Michael’s Mount, a 17th-century castle on an island just off the coast of Cornwall.
Jill Biden will have tea separately with the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson.
The Bidens are staying at Tregenna Castle Hotel n St Ives with the rest of the G7 leaders.
Friday, June 11
Biden will attend the G7 summit for three days starting on Friday, to work on US policy priorities such as the economy and allied unity.
Saturday, June 12
Biden will attend more G7 summit meetings in Cornwall and have bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders.
Jill Biden will meet members of Bude Surf Veterans, which helps UK military veterans through surfing.
Sunday, June 13
Biden will finish his meetings at the G7 summit. Afterward, the Bidens will meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. Then Biden will travel to Brussels for the night.
Monday, June 14
Biden will meet NATO leaders and have a private meeting with the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan.
Tuesday, June 15
Biden will hold more NATO meetings and then fly to Geneva for the night.
Wednesday, June 16
Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday it was unclear whether the two leaders would hold a joint news conference after their talks.
The President and his wife Jill left Washington on Wednesday morning and landed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall to address US Air Force personnel stationed in Britain. At the start of his speech he told the standing troops to sit by saying ‘at ease’, then said: ‘I keep forgetting I am president’.
During his address, he said he would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ‘let him know what I want him to know’; told the crowd that ‘global warming’ is the biggest threat to the US; teared up as he paid tribute to his late veteran son Beau; and boasted that ‘America is back’.
At their arrival on Wednesday night, Joe and Jill Biden received a warm welcome at the base, garnering several rounds of applause. They spoke outdoors as the sun set behind them. Both Bidens wore face masks but took them off to speak.
President Biden also mentioned his late son Beau, a major in the Delaware Army National Guard. He teared up as he thanked military personnel the Royal Air Force Mildenhall for their service.
‘I wish my major was here to thank you as well,’ he said referencing his late son, who died of brain cancer in 2015. ‘You’re the best of our country,’ he added.
He also outlined the goals of his trip and the message he wanted to give to world: ‘The United States is back and the democracies of the world are standing together to face the toughest challenges.’
Biden said during his meetings with fellow leaders, he would focus on COVID, climate change, and on protecting themselves from ‘the growing threat of ransomware attacks…[and] the autocrats who are letting it happen.’
After his G7 meeting, Biden will meet in Brussels with NATO and EU leaders, where the Russian and Chinese threats will top the agenda.
After his remarks, Biden left the stage to shake hands with service members. Before the president spoke, Jill Biden admonished him to focus when she addressed the troops.
‘Joe pay attention,’ the first lady told the president. She had just told the service members to sit down. President Biden, standing behind her, turned around to see the troops positioned behind the stage.
That was when the first lady asked chided him to watch her as she addressed Air Force personnel at Royal Air Force Mildenhall.
In her brief remarks, the first lady thanked the troops for their service and touted her Joining Forces initiative – a group she formed with then-first lady Michelle Obama to support families of American troops.
‘I hope that you know how special you are. And we are so grateful for your and your family’s service,’ she said.
Afterward the meeting with Johnson, Biden will attend the G7 summit, where he will hold bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
On Sunday, he and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Windsor Castle to meet with The Queen.
Then Biden will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in in a NATO meeting and an EU Summit.
There, the president will discuss transatlantic security and the collective defense of Europe.
He will also meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Biden also will participate in the U.S.–EU Summit while in Brussels. That meeting with focus on global health and the world economy. Leaders will discuss climate change, trade, and democracy.
President Biden will also meet with His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
Then Biden travels to Geneva for his sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16. He will also meet with Swiss President Guy Parmelin and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.