There was already plenty of buzz about Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as president – tackling issues such as the “special relationship” with Britain, European unity against authoritarian power in Russia and China and tackling Vladimir Putin on cybercrime.
But the political buzz in Washington became all too literal on Wednesday as the US president was bombarded by large insects as he prepared to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on his way to Britain.
The bite went over the asphalt of the familiar blue-and-white presidential jumbo jet, and he was talking to some military companions as he quickly walked on the side of his neck.
Cicadas were on the attack. The sound of cicadas, not to mention these monstrous visitors, has become something of an obsession on the U.S. East Coast and some Midwestern states in recent weeks after a giant juvenile emerged after 17 years underground.
After giving himself a solid swat, Biden went to the entire press and joked: “Watch out for the cicadas. It got me. I got one. “
Even on television, the large, winged creatures could be seen whizzing through the air at the military base.
But while Biden was literally brushing off the attack, the previous evening some of the press corps had been delayed by more than seven hours after the charter plane that took them to England in front of Biden was sworded by cicadas at Washington’s nearby Dulles airport.
The journalists eventually got started, but will no doubt be stung by having to start their journey delayed and extra jet delayed.