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Biden is wrapping up a week of high-level meetings with allies in Europe

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

President Biden is wrapping up a week of high-level meetings with allies in Europe.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Russia has been the focus, and the president says NATO and the G-7 have sent a unified message. But that message has been overshadowed here in the U.S. by other big news events. Before he leaves for home today, President Biden will face questions at a press conference.

MARTINEZ: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith joins us now from Madrid. Tam, how's the trip gone for President Biden?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Well, you know, he has had some success here at the NATO summit. Most notably, Turkey dropped its opposition to the application from Finland and Sweden to join the alliance. And the White House says that during this trip, President Biden played a big part in that. He called the Turkish president on Tuesday and talked about Turkey's concerns about Finland and Sweden. And he said that this would be a great opportunity to resolve all of those issues so that the two presidents could sit down together and talk about other things at the NATO summit, and then that is exactly what happened. The White House insists that there was no sweetener offered by President Biden, though we do know that Turkey has been eager to buy U.S. fighter jets and the Defense Department is saying that it supports that. That is something that would have to work its way through the contracting process, and Congress would need to sign off. But that is something I am sure President Biden will be asked about at the press conference today. Like, were there really no sweeteners?

MARTINEZ: Yeah. Yeah. Now, while he's been away focused on NATO and Ukraine, there's been a lot happening back home. Has that affected his trip at all?

KEITH: Yeah. I mean, he has mostly just kept his head down here and stayed focused on these summits. I have been struck by just how little we've heard from him other than occasional brief remarks at the start of a meeting. He hasn't given any major speeches or addresses. He's barely responded to shouted questions. And this trip started and will now end with big Supreme Court decisions. First, the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade - that happened the day before he left. It has dominated the news - you know better than I do - in the U.S. ever since. And there's been a lot of frustration from his supporters that he hasn't said more about it in the last week. And now we know that there are going to be big decisions on immigration and environmental regulations today as he heads home. There was also that January 6 hearing on Tuesday with stunning revelations that really overshadowed that news about Finland and Sweden clearing the hurdle to join NATO.

MARTINEZ: You know, it's been a minute since President Biden's had a formal news conference. What do you expect he'll be asked today?

KEITH: Yeah. The last major news conference that Biden held - I was actually there - it was in March. It was also at the end of a NATO summit, that one in Brussels. So it has been a long time. This will be the first time that Biden has faced questions - that weren't shouted from a distance, at least - on what he plans to do now that abortion rights have been overturned. He did set up a commission some time ago to examine the Supreme Court, but he's never said whether he supports changes like term limits.

He might be asked about the economy. People's lives are really being affected by high gas prices and food prices, and some of that is being driven by big global forces. But there was not a lot of obvious or immediate progress on those issues in these meetings that Biden had this week. At least, they didn't talk about it much publicly. A new poll yesterday from the Associated Press showed 85% of people say the country is on the wrong track. That includes nearly 8 in 10 Democrats. So there is a lot of discontent ahead of the November elections. He could get asked about that, and I expect he could even be asked if he still plans to run again in 2024.

MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Tamara Keith in Madrid. Tamara, thanks a lot.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
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