Biden’s Ukraine trip made him a legend in the minds of his party members and the press. Breathless headlines and cable news hits proclaimed it as “courageous” and “historic.” Sure, the president was actually late to the party, having been preempted by Boris Johnson by half a year and numerous other politicians and Hollywood actors, but this was different for reasons not really articulated.
Part of that narrative of heroism was backed by the sounding of air raid sirens the moment Biden and Volydymr Zelensky took to the streets of Kyiv. It was a moment that proved the president was fearless and prepared to take on the Russian threat, so much so that he didn’t flinch in the face of a possible bombardment.
Or was it? Dan Bongino, who served in the US Secret Service, was on Fox News recently and shared the same skepticism many originally showed.
For context, here is what I h ad to say on the matter on the day of the trip.
There is no Secret Service protocol that allows the president to be left strolling out in the open during an actual air raid. Those sirens were clearly turned on with no actual threat in the area in order to make Biden look tough and courageous. The fact that Zelensky would participate in such a stunt, effectively interfering in US politics, is disappointing. Never mind that all that money he’s getting isn’t coming from Biden. It’s coming from the US Congress via the taxpayers who remain an afterthought in all this pomp and circumstance.
But while I’m just a lowly conservative commentator, Bongino has first-hand knowledge of how the secret service deals with such a situation. Thus, I tend to give his word a lot of weight. Besides, what he’s saying sure seems like common sense. If there’s a threat to the president’s life, the secret service will take action. They won’t just stand there while Biden takes pictures and stumbles around the streets of Kyiv.
To be fair, there was an argument made after the air raid confusion began that two MiG-31 fighters took off in Belarus, precipitating the sirens. Let’s assume that’s true. It is still obvious that there was no actual threat, otherwise, Biden would have been whisked away immediately. As Bongino notes, there is no protocol that allows a US president to walk around when there is an actual threat of bombardment.
Further, these protocols are non-negotiable. The secret service has a mandate to protect the president, even if that means removing him from a situation he doesn’t want to be removed from. Given that the Biden administration notified Russia of the trip beforehand, it’s likely that any such take-off in Belarus was immediately discussed and deemed not to be a threat.
So whether the air raid siren was legitimate or not, what’s clear is that the left-wing narrative that Biden did something exceptionally brave is completely manufactured. He rode a train into a city everyone has been visiting for the last year after telling the Russians so no mistakes would be made. Heck, at least Mitch McConnell and other Republicans went before the war turned into a stalemate in the eastern part of the country.
In fact, here’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Kyiv after Biden’s trip for some odd reason.
(UPDATE: she was there to announce an additional $1.25 BILLION in U.S. taxpayer funds to Ukraine).
The entire thing is just silly. Yes, there’s a real war going on in Ukraine, but it’s also obvious that Kyiv is relatively safe, and never more so than when Russia is told US officials are there. When dozens and dozens of Americans can just show up to shake hands, the threat is obviously far enough away as to not be a concern. The administration’s attempt, buoyed by the press, to present Biden as braving imminent danger was simply a staged photo-op for domestic consumption.