With a U.S. president this good at repeating anti-American propaganda and mischaracterizing American ideals, who needs the Kremlin?
President Joe Biden arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, the evening before his highly-anticipated summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, while his counterpart touched down less than an hour before the pair were set to greet one another.
Upon shaking hands, the leaders appeared slightly to be vying for the closer grip. Putin turned to smile for the cameras; Biden gave little acknowledgment to the press and gestured with his right hand toward the entrance. The meeting began around 7:45 a.m. ET (1:45 p.m. in Geneva), and lasted less than three-and-a-half hours, shorter than the four to five hours the White House had predicted. Biden brought flashcards.
The meeting produced a joint statement announcing that “the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust.” Biden announced that he had given Putin a list of sixteen critical infrastructure entities that Biden proposed should be “off limits” for attacks.
“I gave them a list, if I’m not mistaken—I don’t have it in front of me—16 specific entities… Of course, the principle is one thing. It has to be backed up by practice,” Biden said.
The situation did not improve. Biden’s entire solo press conference was a cascade of meaningless bluster and poorly-formed statements about American values.
- “I know there were a lot of hype around this meeting, but it’s pretty straightforward to me,” Biden said;
- The president echoed a refrain that he has also used in reference to Chinese president Xi Jinping: that confronting human rights abuses isn’t about the adversary; it’s simply “who” the United States is. “It’s not about just going after Russia when they violate human rights; it’s about who we are,” Biden said;
- On rights as citizens: “We don’t derive our rights from the government; we possess them because we’re born—period. And we yield them to a government.”
- On American ideals: “The idea is: ‘We hold these truths self-evident that all men and women…'” Biden trailed off and didn’t complete the (mis)quote;
- Biden at one point dropped his jacket on the stage, picked it back up, took his sunglasses off, and put them back on;
- He confirmed that the meeting with Putin was about… doing things or not doing things: “Folks, look, this is about—this about how we move from here… This is about practical, straightforward, no-nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make.”
- On his tough question to Putin: “I looked at him and I said, ‘Well, how would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?'”
- Biden told an outright lie about January 6 in the middle of a jumbled response to Putin’s view of U.S. protests:
Q: [Putin] said the reason why he’s cracking down on opposition leaders is because he doesn’t want something like January 6th to happen in Russia. And he also said he doesn’t want to see groups formed like Black Lives Matter. What’s your response to that, please?
BIDEN: (Laughs.) My response is kind of what I communicated—that I think that’s a ridiculous comparison. It’s one thing for literally criminals to break through cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable than it is for people objecting and marching on the Capitol and saying, “You are not allowing me to speak freely. You are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D.”
Biden again brushed off his earlier comment about Putin being a “killer:”
Q: Putin said he was satisfied with the answer about your comment about him being a “killer.” Could you give us your side on this? What did you tell him?
BIDEN: He’s satisfied. Why would I bring it up again?
- Biden totally ignored a question about telling Putin that he didn’t “have a soul” in 2011;
- In a grand finale, Biden snapped at CNN’s Kaitlan Collins for asking him “Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior?” as he exited the stage. Biden turned and walked toward the press, saying, “I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior. Where the hell— what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?” Given Putin’s denials of involvement in human rights abuses and cyberattacks, Collins asked, “How does that [amount] to a constructive meeting?” Biden replied, “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.”
Before boarding Air Force One, Biden made up to Collins for being “a wise guy with the last answer I gave.” Asked again how Putin’s repeated denials amount to a success for the United States, Biden mused, “Look, to be a good reporter, you got to be negative. You got to have a negative view of life—okay?—it seems to me, the way you all—you never ask a positive question.”
But by the end of the gaggle, all was reconciled: Biden complimented the press as “the brightest people in the country,” reflected again that “I never anticipated, notwithstanding no matter how persuasive President Trump was, that we’d have people attacking and breaking down the doors of the United States Capitol,” and boarded the plane home.
With Vladimir Putin looking on, the U.S. president used his final word to throw Americans under the bus. It’s not an accident.