A quote from President Joe Biden exclaiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t want” him to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election has come back to haunt him as the fate of Ukraine hangs in the balance.
“Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President,” he tweeted in February of 2020. “He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”
Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 21, 2020
Biden made this pronouncement even after former President Trump attempted to block the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a policy position that Biden reversed within one year of his presidency when he scrapped sanctions on the company responsible for the pipeline.
“To go ahead and impose sanctions now would, I think, be counterproductive in terms of our European relations,” Biden said in May of last year. “They know how strongly I feel.”
Contrast Biden’s statement with Trump’s in 2018 when he said, “We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.”
Biden declared that Putin was rooting against him after Trump strengthened NATO and approved the sale of heavy arms to Ukraine.
“The Trump administration has approved the $39 million sale of defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine,” ABC News reported at the time. “The new package will include Javelin anti-tank weapons, with one U.S. official saying it includes 150 missiles and two launchers.”
During a press conference last week, nearly two years after his proclamation, President Biden baffled foreign policy experts when he said that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine would be merely a “minor incursion”:
I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc., but if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the forces they’ve amassed on the border it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine and our allies and partners are ready to impose severe cost and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.
Speaking to reporters in a phone call on Sunday night, a state department official announced that the Ukraine travel advisory currently stands at Level 4 — Do Not Travel — and that U.S. citizens within the country have been advised to seek a commercial flight home. In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration said it will not be able to safely evacuate U.S. citizens.
“As President Biden has said, military action by Russia could come at any time,” the official noted. “The United States Government will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens in such a contingency, so U.S. citizens currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly, including by availing themselves of commercial options should they choose to leave the country.”
State Dept: “We've authorised the departure of some US government employees, but we have ordered the departure of all family members of US government employees at our Embassy in Kiev. The State Department has also elevated our travel advisory for Ukraine to level four.”
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 24, 2022