“We’re back. The U.S. is back,” Biden said. “We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO and I for one think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity that has a lot to do with the ability of pushing Europe to not only handle its economic issues but provide the backbone and the support for NATO … And so we are very supportive, very supportive.”
Macron’s comments came as the two leaders were scheduled to have a much-anticipated bilateral meeting Saturday, Biden’s only formal bilateral meeting of the day.
Before Biden and Macron met Friday, some U.S. diplomats had wondered how much Macron would back Biden after Macron had tried to take a larger leadership role while Trump was in office. Some world leaders have been unsure if the U.S. will remain a reliable leader, given the nation’s deeply divided politics.
Trump’s isolationist “America First” foreign policy agenda had frustrated some allies. Trump was sharply critical of NATO, with Trump often criticizing the alliance for what he saw as other member nations not spending enough on defense.
Sitting in front of the beach in Carbis Bay, Biden expressed that he was happy to be with Macron.
“The sun is shining, we’re on this beach, I’m well,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “And I’m with the president of France, that makes me even feel better.”