This week, in Vilnius, Lithuania, the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, was part of a tense encounter with press members at a NATO summit.
This exchange unfolded during a meeting with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Members of their respective cabinets accompanied both leaders.
Biden, Zelenskyy discuss Ukraine’s admission into NATO
During this discussion, a significant part of the conversation was centered around Ukraine’s prospects of being admitted into NATO – an association of Western powers with shared goals and values.
Biden and Zelenskyy, as heads of their respective nations, dedicated a considerable amount of their time to discussing Ukraine’s potential inclusion into NATO.
Biden’s assurance on Ukraine’s inevitable NATO membership
Biden showed resolve and confidence and assured Zelenskyy that Ukraine’s NATO membership was inevitable.
His belief in the country’s potential was encapsulated in his statement, “I hope we finally have put to bed the notion about whether or not Ukraine is welcome in NATO. It’s going to happen.”
Biden ends media attendance at Ukraine-NATO discussion
As the conversation was closing, President Biden said it was time for the media personnel to be escorted out.
He said, “Any rate, I thank you, and we got a lot to talk about. So, somebody is going to have to say, “The press has to leave.”
Reporters continue to probe Zelenskyy regardless of Biden’s orders
Despite the calls for their departure, several reporters chose to stay and pepper Zelenskyy with further questions. The first one to speak up asked, “President Zelenskyy, are you satisfied with what you got from NATO? You were so frustrated yesterday. Is this enough? Are you satisfied, sir?”
Zelenskyy replied, “I think, at the end of the summit, we — we have great unity from our leader and security guarantees… that the success for this summit. I think so, but it’s my opinion. Thank you.”
Biden’s sarcastic retort to persistent press questions in NATO talks
Ignoring the continuous clamor for their departure, another reporter asked Zelenskyy, “President Zelenskyy, how soon after the war would you like to be in NATO? How soon after the war would you like to join NATO?”
Biden, visibly irked, stepped in and gave a sarcastic reply. He said, “An hour and 20 minutes,” adding, “You guys ask really insightful questions!” His remark brought a chuckle from Zelenskyy as the press finally vacated the room.
Biden’s recurring tense relationship with the press
This interaction with the media underscores a recurrent pattern of Biden’s presidency.
It vividly depicts his relationship with the press, marked by pointed remarks and less-than-flattering commentary.
It’s a relationship that goes back to his campaign days and continues to be a hallmark of his presidency.
Instances of Biden’s unpleasant interaction with the press
Perhaps most notable are his encounters with Kaitlin Collins from CNN, whom he suggested was in the “wrong business” following her question about Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and Peter Doocy from Fox News, whom Biden referred to as a “stupid” n response to a question on inflation.
These instances are indelible marks of the rapport between Biden and the media.