Vice President Kamala Harris was dispatched to Europe last week to conduct meetings with critical NATO allies, her second such trip since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Those meetings apparently did not accomplish what the White House had hoped, as discussions bubbled up over the weekend about sending President Joe Biden himself to Europe in the near future to meet directly with NATO allies, NBC News reported.
“Discussions” underway about Biden trip to Europe
The purpose of the visit, according to several unnamed officials described as “familiar with the discussions” that were cited by NBC, was to try and help reassure NATO allies of the U.S. commitment to the international alliance.
Details were reportedly still being finalized and a date had not yet been firmly established for when the trip might occur, the sources acknowledged.
However, it was believed that the trip would quite possibly be timed to coincide with an upcoming emergency NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium that was said to be in the works.
Multiple sources confirm planning for Biden trip
CNN confirmed the NBC report through its own unnamed sources in the Biden administration and similarly noted that, at least as of Monday night, nothing had been formally finalized with regard to a trip to Europe for the president.
That report also pointed to the likelihood of the trip coinciding with the NATO summit, which would allow Biden the opportunity to meet in person in one place with the various leaders of the several NATO ally nations.
It also noted that Biden’s trip would follow the two trips in just a few weeks that VP Harris has made as well as a recent trip to visit several NATO allies in Eastern Europe by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Monday afternoon, Reuters correspondent Phil Stewart issued a report via Twitter about the alleged discussions about a European trip for President Biden in the “coming weeks” and suggested that multiple possible plans were under consideration.
“One plan calls for Biden to meet NATO leaders in Brussels on March 23 and then travel to Poland,” Stewart tweeted.
Biden headed to Belgium, Psaki confirms
As it turns out, those anonymously-sourced reports were proven correct as White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement Tuesday announcing that President Biden would indeed be traveling to Belgium in Europe within the next couple of weeks.
Biden will attend the “extraordinary” NATO summit on March 24 in Brussels to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. commitment to NATO. Following that, Biden will also address a European Council summit to discuss the invasion, the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians, and any other major issues that have arisen amid the ongoing crisis.