There was already plenty of buzz about Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as president – tackling issues as the “special relationship” with Britain, European unity against authoritarian power in Russia and China and tackling Vladimir Putin about cybercrime.
But the Washington political hum 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, en route to the UK.
Walking across the tarmac to the familiar blue-and-white presidential jumbo jet, Biden was talking to some military escorts when he gave the side of his neck a rapid swipe.
Cicadas were on the attack. los sound of cicadas, to say nothing of the look and feel of these beastly visitors, has become something of an obsession on the US east coast and some midwestern states in recent weeks, after a huge brood emerged after 17 años bajo tierra.
After giving himself a hearty swat, Biden walked over to the assembled 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 literally brushed off the attack, the previous evening some of the press corps had been delayed by more than seven hours after the charter plane taking them to England ahead of Biden, was swarmed by cicadas at Washington’s nearby Dulles airport.
The journalists eventually got underway but doubtless will be stung by having to start off their trip delayed and extra jet-lagged.