US media: Biden trying to clean up his comments about Russia
The US President faces a drop in popularity amid intensifying criticism following his statements on the crisis in Ukraine.
US National Public Radio (NPR) said on Tuesday that Biden’s administration attempted on Sunday to clarify remarks he made about Russia during a lengthy news conference the day before.
On Wednesday, Biden predicted that Russia will invade Ukraine but also implied that NATO countries were split on how to respond if Moscow took action short of putting troops across the border, which Biden described as a "small 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 a fight about what to do and not do."
Simultaneously, Biden’s remarks promptly sounded the alarm both at home and abroad, according to NPR.
Jen Psaki, Biden's Press Secretary, published a statement shortly after the news conference ended, attempting to explain what he meant:
She said, "If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that's a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our allies," adding that "aggression short of military action" like cyberattacks and paramilitary hits "will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response."
The President launched an unrelated infrastructure event on Thursday morning in an attempt to mitigate the repercussions and clarify his position.
Adding salt to injury, he said "If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion," adding that it would result in a "severe and coordinated economic response" that he has discussed with allies.
On his account, US former House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed Biden’s administration way of dealing with Putin, tweeting, “The Biden Administration talks and Putin acts. This is such a clear replay of Chamberlain trying to deal with Hitler that it is more than a little frightening. Putin is pushing day by day and has no fear of NATO because he has no fear of the United States or its President.”
Meanwhile, Biden's approval rating reached a new low in the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, as the White House faces crises on multiple fronts.