Joe Biden Discusses His Meeting With Putin — and He Really Shouldn’t Have

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Yesterday, Joe Biden held a meeting with Vladamir Putin in which the former tried to convince the latter not to invade Ukraine. For months, the Russians have been building up forces on the border, threatening to move into the Eastern European country as they did with Crimea back in 2014.

How did that meeting go? Well, the White House wouldn’t allow the press to observe it and refused to provide a transcript (remember when that was a scandal under Donald Trump?), but because Russia did allow some media in on their end, we know that Biden started things by forgetting to turn his mic on. From there, indications are that sanctions and other consequences were discussed.

Today, we got a little more detail from the President of the United States as he spoke to the press for about two minutes. Biden began his comments by laughing for some reason, after which he launched into his typical tough guy act that absolutely no one buys.

For the love of all that is holy, keep this man in the basement. I mean that seriously and not at all as a compliment to Putin. Biden is uniquely unequipped for this moment. A president needs to be sharp and project strength. Biden projects senility, and when he attempts to sound tough, it just comes off as cringey and forced. The Russians have to be laughing at this performance.

In that sense, letting Biden rant about “serious consequences,” while at the same time giving up the leverage of possibly using force, is dangerous. It would be better to have some mystery afoot about what the US president is going to do. Instead, Biden rushes to rattle his saber about…economic sanctions?

I can assure you if there’s one thing Putin doesn’t care about, it’s economic sanctions. Not only have those been tried in the past to little or no effect, but Putin’s financial hand has only gotten stronger now that the Nordstream 2 pipeline has been greenlit by the Biden administration. If we wanted to put the brakes on Russia’s ambitions, the time to do that was almost a year ago. Now, there is no real chance Germany will go along with holding up the pipeline since they have placed so much of their future energy prospects in its completion.

In summary, there’s a difference between sounding tough and having the credibility to be tough. Biden is a legend in his own mind, but that’s where the tale ends. No one on the world stage actually sees him as an authoritative figure not to be messed with. And when he goes in front of cameras and fumbles around as he did today, it only emboldens our enemies to keep lashing out. Biden actually projects more strength when he’s in hiding than when he speaks. That’s not great, Bob.

But elections have consequences, regardless of how you feel the last one was conducted. Biden is the president, and he’s obviously not fit for the job. Putin sees that and he’s going to take advantage of the situation. The same is true for China’s Xi Jinping as he eyes Taiwan. There’s a reason these tyrants are making their moves now and not when Donald Trump was president. There’s a lesson there that a lot of Biden voters would do well to learn. That’s probably too much to ask, though.

Editor’s note: this article was edited for content after publication. While there wasn’t a transcript of the call, a read-out was published to the White House website.