Media, security get physical at Biden-Putin summit

Media, security get physical at Biden-Putin summit
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U.S. media and White House officials screamed at Russian security forces who pushed reporters at the library where President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE met with Russia's President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin blasts cancel culture, calls gender fluidity 'crime against humanity' Russia breaks daily COVID-19 infections, death record US, allied nations force REvil ransomware group offline: report MORE in Geneva on Wednesday, according to a pool report.

“The shoving match began at a side entrance immediately as the two presidents entered the villa from the front door,” stated the pool reporter, written by Politico’s White House correspondent Anita Kumar, who also tweeted about the skirmish.

U.S. and Russian correspondents had hurried into the Villa La Grange that housed the library for the summit but were stopped at the door by U.S. and Russian security workers. 

“At the moment, the US and Russian pools are standing at the door of the villa,” Kumar wrote. “We are not being allowed in because everyone is pushing and shoving. Authorities have threatened to keep us out. Unclear if we will miss the remarks.”

The reporters were directed to line up into groups but instead pushed and shoved in an attempt to enter the building. 

“There was screaming and yelling as a Swiss official kept asking everyone to be quiet,” the poor report stated.


There was some dispute over how many reporters would be given access with some Russian reporters let in but initially, U.S. journalists kept out.

“White House officials repeatedly tried to get the US pool inside,” the pool report stated, “saying that the US and Russia had agreed on the numbers. Meanwhile, we learned while standing there that the leaders had started speaking without media inside the room.”

Eventually nine reporters from the 13-person U.S. reporting pool were ushered in.  

However, the problems continued inside the library, and the scene became the “most chaotic” media scuffle Kumar said that she had witnessed at a presidential event in nine years. 

Reporters pushed and shoved for position until Russian security workers pulled the red rope to blockade the media from the leaders and began pushing reporters and yelling at them to leave.

“Journalists and White House officials screamed back that the Russian security should stop touching us,” the pool report stated. “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.”

The leaders watched and listened to the chaos, appearing “amused by the scene,” Kumar added. “At one point, Biden leaned over and spoke to the interpreter and smiled.”

The summit is the first time Biden has met Putin since becoming president though the two met 10 years ago when Biden was vice president and Putin was Russia's prime minister. It ended after roughly three hours of talks.

Biden was expected to ask Putin about human rights, cyberattacks and other contentious issues as well as topics such as climate change and arms control.