President Joe Biden ended his press conference after Vladimir Putin’s summit with a flash of irritation visible to a question posed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
As he left the makeshift stage in Geneva, Collins asked him, “Why are you so confident that he will change his behavior, Mr. President?”
Biden replied, “I’m not sure he’ll change his behavior. Where the hell… what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident? I said… what the hell? I said is, let’s be clear, I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their position in the world. nothing I’m just stating the facts.
But Collins continued. “But given that his past behavior has not changed and during this press conference after sitting with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyber attacks. He played down the human rights violations. man. He even refused to pronounce Alexey Navalny’s name. So how does that explain a constructive meeting, as President Putin said? “
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Biden replied, “If you don’t understand this, you are in the wrong business.”
Later, before boarding Air Force One for his flight back to Washington, he spoke to reporters and said, “I owe my last caller an apology. I shouldn’t have been so wise for the answer I gave.
On CNN, Collins said, “It’s completely unnecessary. He didn’t need to apologize… It’s just our job to ask the president questions. This is the company we are in.
Q: “Why are you so confident that he will change his behavior, Mr. President?” “
President Biden: “I’m not a confidant… Where the hell, what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confidant? I said… ” pic.twitter.com/fdPTAI2Dfy
– CSPAN (@cspan) June 16, 2021
After apologizing, Biden then responded to further questions on the tarmac in an unusual exchange in which he elaborated on the summit and the prospects for improving relations with Putin. Yet Biden always complained about the coverage and told reporters gathered that “to be a good reporter you have to be negative. You have to have a negative outlook on life, it seems to me. You never ask a positive question.
Near. Biden said the G7 countries, as well as NATO and the EU, “are happy that America is back” and thanked him for hosting a summit with Putin.
“Frankly, I was in a much better position to represent the West … with Putin, knowing that the rest of the West was behind us.” https://t.co/kHZvqJxcKb pic.twitter.com/qahEjlzmFK
– ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 16, 2021
During the official press conference, carried by major cable news and broadcast networks, Biden called on a list of shortlisted journalists, both trying to show that the summit had achieved its goals – “J ‘ did what I came to do “- and to show that this was a very different relationship with Putin than the Russian leader had with Trump.
“There was a lot of hype around this meeting, but it was pretty straightforward for me,” he said.
Biden defended the shorter-than-expected length, saying the two leaders have already gone through the list of issues they want to address. “After two hours there, we looked at each other like, ‘OK, what happens next?’
He also called the meeting a success, saying they had an agreement to continue cooperation in areas such as arms control, while Putin offered his assistance in areas such as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Trying to compare his approach to Putin with that of his predecessor, Biden said he made it clear to Putin that the United States would continue to raise “basic human rights issues” and that the United States would act if it there were new cyberattacks linked to Russia. . When asked how the United States would react if Navalny died or was killed, Biden said he made it clear that the consequences “would be devastating for Russia.”
Perhaps more than anything, Biden seemed to want to convey that while there are prospects for progress, he is realistic, certainly more so than his predecessor. In 2018, at their joint press conference in Helsinki, Trump sided with Putin, rather than US intelligence, on the issue of election interference.
Biden said, “It’s not about trust. It’s about self-interest and self-interest verification.