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White House Forced to Issue Clarification on Gesture Biden Made in Opening Seconds of Putin Meeting

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The White House quickly issued a clarification that President Joe Biden’s answer to a reporter’s question Wednesday in Geneva was not what it seemed.

Prior to Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland, the two leaders appeared together for a brief and chaotic photo opportunity, according to The Associated Press.

When a reporter asked if Putin could be trusted, Biden appeared to nod in agreement.

“Inside, a pooler shouted Mr. President, do you trust Putin? Biden nodded yes up and down,” CBS News reporter Kathryn Watson tweeted, quoting the print pool.

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Political reporter Yamiche Alcindor added that it appeared that Biden “looked directly at the reporter and nodded affirmatively.”

The White House communications staff moved quickly to claim the president wasn’t answering the Putin question but was just giving “a general head nod in the direction of the media.”

“During a chaotic free for all with members of the press shouting questions over each other, the President gave a general head nod in the direction of the media,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Alcindor.

“He wasn’t responding to any question or anything other than the chaos.”

White House Communications Director Kate Beddingfield offered a similar explanation, adding that two days ago Biden said “verify, then trust” in relation to Putin.

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Biden has previously called Putin a “killer” and has claimed that as vice president a decade ago he looked into Putin’s eyes and told him he was missing a “soul.”

Do you think Biden was responding to the question?

Journalists and security officers were shoving to get into the small room Wednesday, creating a bit of chaos prior to the meeting, according to the AP.

Putin ignored questions that were shouted at him from reporters, including one that asked him about jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the outlet reported.

Biden and Putin were expected to talk for four to five hours about a series of topics, including cybercrime and Russia’s alleged interference in U.S. elections.

The president told his Russian counterpart that “it is always better to meet face to face,” and Putin expressed hope that the talks would be “productive.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Birthplace
Tucson, Arizona
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated with Honors
Education
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Location
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith




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