President Joe Biden spoke with reporters after his brief meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he characterized as a “worthy adversary.” But when questioned by CNN’s Kaitlyn Collins about whether he had faith in Putin’s capacity for acting less like a dictator and more like a democratic partner, Biden snapped.
Biden said that he and Putin had talked about American citizens who had been detained in Russia, pledging that “we’re gonna follow through with that discussion. I am not gonna walk away on that.”
As he exited the room, Collins asked the president why he is “so confident that [Putin] will change his behavior.”
Biden was not pleased.
“Yeah, I’m not confident he will change his behavior. Where the hell — what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?” the president rebutted.
“I said, I said, what I said was – let’s get it straight – I said what will change future behavior is that the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world,” he added, referring to Putin and his associates inside the Kremlin.
“I’m not confident of anything. Just stating the facts,” Biden said.
“But given his past behavior has not changed,” Collins pressed further, “and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours he denied any involvement in cyberattacks, he downplayed human rights abuses, he even refused to say Alexei Navalny’s name. So how does that account to a constructive meeting as president?”
Biden quipped back that “if you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.”
The president apologized for losing his cool a short while later.
Watch below via Mediaite:
President Biden went off on CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the end of his post-summit press conference and suggested she may be "in the wrong business" after she asked why he was "so confident" that Putin will "change his behavior." pic.twitter.com/QhkyT4pEXm
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) June 16, 2021
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.