“The image of President Biden, which is portrayed by our, and even the American press, has nothing to do with reality,” Putin told reporters in Moscow, according to a translation provided by the Moscow Times. “Biden is a professional, you have to be very attentive when working with him so as not to miss something—because he does not miss a thing, trust me.”
Over the 2020 campaign and now his administration, a number of news outlets have often focused on Biden’s misstatements to reporters and during press conferences—as well as his relatively advanced age.
Putin and Biden met with one another for three and a half hours in Geneva, Switzerland, this week. Following their meeting, Biden said that he raised several issues with Putin, including cybersecurity, election interference, the treatment of prominent dissident Alexei Navalny, and more.
When the two met, there was rampant speculation from members of the press about the two leaders’ body language, facial expressions, or their comments during news conferences. At one point on Wednesday, several White House officials including press secretary Jen Psaki issued statements saying that Biden was not nodding in agreement to a question from a reporter about whether the president trusts Putin.
But Putin further claimed that Biden is “completely of sound mind and should be taken seriously.”
For his part, Biden praised Putin as “balanced and professional” while adding that he’s “very experienced” during a Wednesday press conference after their meeting.
“I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia, or anyone else, it’s for the American people. Fighting COVID-19, rebuilding our economy, reestablishing relationships around the world,” Biden said while adding that Russia and the United States need “stable and predictable” ties.
The laudatory remarks from the two about each other come in contrast to statements made just weeks prior.
During an interview with ABC News, Biden was asked by a correspondent about whether he believes the Russian president is “a killer,” to which Biden replied in the affirmative. It came as the administration hit several Russian financial institutions with sanctions over alleged election interference and the SolarWinds cybersecurity breach—which U.S. officials believe was carried out at the behest of Moscow.
Under the previous administration, meanwhile, Democrat politicians including Biden have attempted to tie former President Donald Trump to an alleged effort to meddle in the 2016 election. Former special counsel Robert Mueller later found that Trump did not collude with Russia during the election.
Putin denied that the Kremlin was involved in election meddling or any major cybersecurity breaches, alleging that such claims were made by American politicians to use Russia as a scapegoat.
“We have been accused of all kinds of things,” Putin told NBC News in an interview released June 14. “Election interference, cyberattacks, and so on and so forth. And not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof. Just unfounded accusations.”