Biden snaps at CNN reporter for questioning ‘confidence’ Putin will change behavior

President Biden on Wednesday snapped at a CNN reporter who pressed him on what makes him confident Russian President Vladimir Putin will change his behavior following the high-stakes summit between the two world leaders. 

“Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior Mr. President?” CNN’s Kaitlan Collins shouted at Biden as he left a briefing with reporters in Geneva following the bilateral meeting. 

“I’m not confident,” Biden turned around and shouted back. “What the hell, what do you do all the time?” 

Biden walked back toward the press pool, raising his finger in the air and asking Collins: “When did I say I was confident? What I said was … what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world.” 

Biden added he’s “not confident of anything, I’m just stating a fact.” 

Collins pressed the president again, saying Putin has not changed his behavior in the past. She mentioned that the Russian president both denied any culpability related to recent cyberattacks believed to be carried out by cyber criminals in Russia and downplayed human rights abuses. 

“How does that amount to a constructive meeting as president?” Collins asked Biden. 

Biden, growingly visibly frustrated, gestured toward Collins and said, “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.” 

Moments later, before boarding Air Force One, Biden apologized for losing his temper at Collins.

“I apologize for having been short,” Biden said, before later telling reporters gathered outside the plane, “You never ask positive questions.”

Collins said during a live report from Geneva minutes after the back-and-forth with Biden that her question was justified.

“You saw President Putin come out at that press conference and do essentially some of things he has been criticized for,” Collins said.

During his press conference, Biden outlined in overarching terms the general tenor and mood of his meeting with Putin, saying the two men discussed areas where they have a common interest and what would happen, the president said, if Putin did not respect international norms regarding trade, cyber crime and chemical weapons. 

“I did what I came to do,” Biden told reporters at one point. 

Biden, as has been standard procedure during other official briefings with the press during his presidency, only called on a handful of reporters from a list of previously selected journalists. 

Several other journalists continued to shout questions as he walked away from Wednesday’s briefing.

–Updated at 2:41 p.m.

Tags Government Joe Biden Kaitlan Collins politicians reporters Vladimir Putin
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