UPDATED 2:55 PM PT – Friday, March 19, 2021
The White House said Joe Biden doesn’t intend to hold a live virtual discussion with Russia’s leader. During a press briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki avoided questions about President Vladimir Putin’s offer to debate Biden as early as Friday, after he called the Russian leader a killer.
Psaki said she had nothing to report when asked if Biden would accept the virtual invite. Reporters questioned if Biden stood by his comments from a recent interview, saying it seemed to be a strange way to foster friendly relations and de-escalate tensions.
I am absolutely here for a Biden/Putin debate – or even better – a series of them.
I love the idea of major power competition taking the form of debate & discourse MORE & building nuclear warheads LESS to express disagreement.
But hey, neocons going to neocon. https://t.co/3NOoT7bnn8
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 19, 2021
“You don’t want to escalate tensions?” a reporter asked. “How is that constructive to the relationship when you talk about diplomacy being primary between the U.S. and Russia? How is calling Vladimir Putin a killer constructive to that relationship?”
“[Joe] Biden has known President Putin for a long time,” Psaki claimed. “They’ve both been on the global stage for a long time, worked through many iterations of a relationship between the United States and Russia, and he believes we can continue to do that.”
Psaki said Biden gave a direct answer to a direct question. Though Russia recalled its ambassador over Biden’s comment, Putin said the Kremlin was willing to hold talks with the U.S. to build a diplomatic relationship. In response to Biden’s killer comment, Putin offered a jovial retort.
“And you know I remember in my childhood, when we argued in the courtyard we used to say: It takes one to know one,” the Russian leader said. “And that’s not a coincidence, not just a children’s saying or joke. It has deep psychological meaning. We always see our own traits in other people and think they are like how we really are.”
Before boarding Air Force One Friday, Biden said he was sure he will speak with Putin sometime soon.