President Biden Visits Troops at Walter Reed
The last time a president of the United States was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was October 2020 and it turned into a circus. Donald Trump spent the weekend there being treated for COVID-19, reviewing and signing blank papers and going for a joy ride on Wisconsin Avenue to wave to his supporters and expose Secret Service agents to the coronavirus in the sealed up SUV.
Friday afternoon President and Commander in Chief Joe Biden took the short helicopter ride to the Bethesda, Md., military facility to visit with and offer encouragement to wounded soldiers being treated there. Biden visited with both active duty and retired military personnel before touring the center’s COVID-19 vaccination facility.
“These kids are amazing, and thank God there’s not as many people to visit,” he said, calling those at the hospital “real heroes.”
Both the president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden have a long association with the facility. During his time as vice president they visited Walter Reed on several Christmas Days to cheer recovering service members. The president’s son Beau, who was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, died at Walter Reed in 2015 of brain cancer. Biden said Friday that the hospital took care of Beau “in his final days with great grace and dignity.”
It’s notable that the trip there was Biden’s first to someplace other than the Lincoln Memorial and church after his first full week as president. It’s a meaningful and symbolic act for the civilian head of the nation’s military. Barack Obama visited troops there two dozens times during his eight years in office. By contrast, Trump only made a few trips there.