Before even talking to Joe Biden himself, the White House felt the need to do damage control from the moment Biden was inside the room during the first rounds of talks with Putin, which are expected to last throughout the day.
"The White House says that President Joe Biden was not suggesting to reporters that he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin with his reaction to a reporter’s question in Geneva," AP reports based on the statement. It appears that a mere head nod from the president has sent the Western mainstream into a tizzy.
White House press jumps in to say Biden was not nodding affirmatively when asked by an American reporter if he could trust Putinhttps://t.co/KNP4SC7NHF— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) June 16, 2021
"At the start of a high-stakes summit in Geneva, Biden appeared to suggest that he can take the Russian leader at his word, nodding his head during a photo opportunity when asked by a reporter if Putin can be trusted," AP continues.
The opening meet and greet brief press event between the two leaders involved a nearly unprecedented "chaotic scrum with reporters shouting over each other" which according to some accounts the two presidents seemed amused by.
Biden responds affirmatively to question about whether he trusts Putin— libby emmons (@libbyemmons) June 16, 2021
White House comms team walks it back, saying that Biden gave a "general head nod" in response to "the chaos."https://t.co/RD3bkLkUGU
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that the president "wasn’t responding to any question or anything other than the chaos" in an apparent attempt to reject claims that he nodded in the affirmative when asked by a journalist if he trusted Putin.
US press asked Biden if he trusted Putin and @potus nodded yes.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 16, 2021
Reporters again asked Putin why do you fear Navalny, and what’d you if Ukraine joined NATO. No Putin answer.
via @JonLemire (1/2 of US traveling pool didn’t get access due to Russia press and security shoving us) pic.twitter.com/SuwRDNul2z
Independent journalist Michael Tracy summarizes the dimwitted state of the whole spectacle whereby the press and political pundits hyperventilate over a nod which "might" suggest amicable relations between Biden and Putin:
Essentially the entire political/media class is committed to maximal antagonism against Russia. Dems to show Biden's "toughness" compared to Trump. GOP to show Biden's "weakness" compared to Trump. Corporate media + think tanks for their own self-serving reasons. Bunch of sickos.
CNN fawns over Biden for shaking hands with Putin, "Biden looked Putin in the eye with a smile and Putin looked away … There was that handshake; it was a significant handshake." pic.twitter.com/lpr8UFE0gh— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 16, 2021
And for more of this on display...
Can anyone imagine a US corporate journalist screaming at Biden: "Why do you fear Assange so much?"— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 16, 2021
Always easy to condemn the acts of the governments your country tells you to see as Enemy. Much harder - and way more meaningful - to challenge your own government's repression. https://t.co/CtzeU37pn3
Biden is expected to give a "solo" press conference by summit's end later in the day. No doubt he'll do his best to satisfy his base and talk "tough".
Meanwhile, of note is that Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland is at the table, likely with something to say on Ukraine...
Russian state media @tassrussia posting a photo from inside the room of the bilateral meeting between Biden and Putin. Haven't seen anything yet to the U.S. press. https://t.co/niwRf8Q9rG pic.twitter.com/5Bj6sLU46Q— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) June 16, 2021
Media coverage of Biden-Putin meeting pic.twitter.com/Wm9OqYYPfA— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) June 16, 2021