White House: Biden head nod when asked if he trusts Putin not meant as agreement

·2 min read

When President Joe Biden appeared to nod in response to a question about whether he trusts Vladimir Putin at the start of a hotly anticipated summit with the Russian president, the White House contended he wasn't signaling agreement.

“It was a chaotic scrum with reporters shouting over each other. President Biden was very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally,” White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told reporters.


A journalist who managed to make it inside the villa's library during a press pushing-and-shoving match that apparently involved Putin's security detail had asked Biden if he trusted Putin.

"Biden looked at her and nodded in the affirmative," according to the report by the White House pool.

Press secretary Jen Psaki also pushed back on the characterization of Biden's gesture.

"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," said Psaki. "He wasn’t responding to any question or anything other than the chaos."


The two leaders were seated in a library with a small wooden table in between them. Large U.S. and Russian flags stood in the room.

Russian security scuffled with journalists, some of whom were pushed multiple times, while White House officials yelled at the security team to stop.

"The media scuffle was the most chaotic your pooler has seen at a presidential event in nine years. Journalists pushed and shoved, yelling at each other to move but no one did. After just a minute or two, Russian security pulled the red rope separating the media from the leaders back to try to keep them away from the presidents," veteran presidential pooler Anita Kumar of Politico wrote in a pool report distributed to print outlets.

"Russian security yelled at journalists to get out and began pushing journalists. Journalists and White House officials screamed back that the Russian security should stop touching us," she added. "Your pooler was pushed multiple times, nearly to the ground, as many poolers tripped over the red rope, which was now almost to the ground."

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Tags: News, White House, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Media, Foreign Policy

Original Author: Katherine Doyle

Original Location: White House: Biden head nod when asked if he trusts Putin not meant as agreement