Watch Joe Biden discuss his meeting with Russia's Putin
President Joe Biden had one single and simple goal at his press conference in the wake of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva: Project absolute and utter normality.
Did Biden engage in any threats? No, he said.
Was there hyperbole on either side? No, he said.
Did Biden revisit his past comment that Putin was a “killer?” No comment, Biden said.
“I did what I came to do,” Biden offered at one point, a succinct, if vague, assertion of success.
While Biden didn’t seek to fully explain what it was he came to do, the evidence was everywhere in his answers: Make clear that the traveling circus of the Trump presidency was over — and that the adults were back in charge.
(Biden’s cool demeanor broke only once — under questioning from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins about whether the President truly expected Putin to change his behavior. “I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior,” Biden replied testily. “Where the hell — what do you do all the time. When did I say I was confident?” He later apologized to Collins, saying he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.”)
He repeatedly dodged questions about his personal relationship (or lack thereof) with Putin and past — and present — comments the two men had made about each other. Time after time, Biden steered the conversation away from personalities and toward realpolitik.
“This is not about trust,” Biden said when asked whether he trusted Putin. “This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.”
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