It used to be a generally understood yet unwritten rule that, despite whatever political disagreements may exist at home, Americans did not speak ill of their country or its leadership while abroad.
Unfortunately, as with a number of other unwritten rules of decorum and national pride, all bets are off in the current age of Trump, and an increasing number of left-leaning Americans have spoken disparagingly of their own nation and leaders while in foreign lands, with the latest to do so being former Vice President Joe Biden.
America an “embarrassment” under Trump
The Washington Examiner reported that, while the 76-year-old Biden refrained from calling out President Donald Trump by name, there was no mistaking to whom he was referring in his highly critical commentary of America and American leadership in remarks he delivered to dignitaries gathered at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
“The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that’s not right,” said the presumed frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“The American people understand plainly that this makes us an embarrassment,” Biden continued. “The American people know, overwhelmingly, that it is not right. That it is not who we are.”
He added that some Americans were upset at a perceived lack of “moral authority” in what he deemed a “struggle for America’s soul,” and proceeded to not-so-subtly criticize the president’s economic and trade policies.
Democrat Joe Biden in Munich: America today is “an embarrassment” pic.twitter.com/VyhmTOKkuk
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 17, 2019
Trump’s “lack of leadership”
Later in the speech, Biden disparaged President Trump’s leadership as virtually nonexistent, and said, “While I cannot speak today as an elected government official who is able to set policy, I can speak as a citizen. I can offer insight into my country.
“I know we’ve heard a lot today about leadership, but in my experience, leadership only exists if somebody — and others — are with you. Leadership in the absence of people who are with you is not leadership,” he added.
Yet another shot at Trump’s leadership skills — most likely in reference to Trump’s tough stance demanding NATO allies pay their necessary dues via defense spending — was taken by Biden after that, as he said, “You’re never allowed to disagree with your brothers and sisters in public. Today, because of, I think, a lack of leadership coming from the other side of the Atlantic, we find ourselves in a different place, and it’s uncomfortable.”
Biden 2020 candidacy likely
Later, as Biden hinted at his preparations for yet another run at the White House — having failed twice before in 1988 and 2008 — he took still another swipe at Trump’s supposed lack of character.
“I can assure you, that the American people, the ultimate wellspring of power in the United States of America, remain committed to engaging the world with decency and respect.”
It used to be an unwritten rule that domestic political squabbles stopped at the water’s edge when prominent figures traveled overseas. However, those who are afflicted with an unabashed hatred for President Trump have dispatched that principle in favor of openly and vociferously criticizing the U.S. president in front of foreign allies and rivals alike, rather than put forth a united front that supercedes internal disagreements.