Leading Republicans blasted President Biden’s performance at his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday — saying he let the former KGB agent push “propaganda” and failed to resolve issues critical to American and global security.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faulted Biden for letting Putin hold a lengthy, solo news conference following the sit-down, saying there should have been “an American standing beside him saying, ‘No, that’s not what we talked about. That’s not right.”
“He was allowed to go up there and spout Russian propaganda to create the context for moral equivalence between the United States and Russia on every front, whether it was talking about [Black Lives Matter] or protesters or our judicial system,” Pompeo told Fox News.
“When we have a problem here, it goes to a court. We have a system, a constitutional foundation. They have none of that.”
Pompeo added, “I knew that this was the risk that was created” when Biden didn’t hold a joint news conference with Putin.
Former deputy national security adviser KT McFarland said, “They didn’t talk at all about China. This is the big issue right now.”
“The Chinese are in Taiwan, they are overflying Taiwan, and Russian ships are in Hawaii. That wasn’t mentioned at all,” she told Fox News.
But McFarland said having the two leaders appear side-by-side in Geneva, Switzerland, “would have been a terrible picture to the world.”
“All I can say is thank God the two of them didn’t stand next to each other. Joe Biden is a kindly old man and he looked tired and he didn’t have vigor,” she said.
“Compare that to Putin, who is a killer, who does have the wind at his back.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Biden failed to come into the meeting from a position of strength due to concessions made ahead of the gathering.
“Well, I think that he made a lot of concessions going into this meeting and quite frankly I don’t think he got anything out of it. Putin basically denied he had anything to do with these cyber attacks. I think Putin was testing him and I think Biden failed the test,” he told The Post, adding he believed the cyber attacks will continue.
“And with respect to Nord Stream 2, he made a major concession allowing Putin to finish his pipeline in Europe making them energy dependent on Russia and that same time cancels the Keystone and then the Russians attack Colonial Pipeline — I call it the pipeline paradox.”
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who called for Biden to cancel the meeting in a letter days ahead of the summit, argued that the president’s decision to meet with Putin legitimized an adversary.
“I am the number two ranking Republican on on House Foreign Affairs and this is my third term and I just think it’s just disgraceful that President United States would would reward the Putin regime by meeting with him and legitimising criminal dictator, after all this happened, I mean, the ransomware attacks and the other cyber attacks have been devastating and increasing and there have been no repercussions whatsoever,” she said.
“In fact, he continues to reward him whether it’s with the meeting, whether it’s with Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while canceling our Keystone XL Pipeline, but allowing Nord Stream Two to go through between Russia and Germany, and what we get back from this bully dictator is attacks on our food supply and on our colonial pipeline. It’s absolutely outrageous”
And House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) argued that Biden could have done more to assert that the United States will not tolerate its attacks.
“I did find that when they asked President Biden if he trusts Putin, he indicated that he does which anybody that knows Putin, knows that he’s a former KGB agent he’s continuing even today disseminating disinformation, typical Russian disinformation,” he told The Post.
“He has yet to put any real red lines out on some of the interference Russia has had whether it’s the elections in 2016 when Biden was the VP, the pipeline hacksm the other cyber attacks we’ve seen the ransomware attacks that we’ve seen that are emanating out of Russia and Putin, even today was saying it was America that did it, which everybody knows that’s not true. So, I’d like to see him tougher.
In a joint statement, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that Biden “signaled the US is back to repeating the same decades of Democrat geopolitical policy failures during his first trip abroad.”
“President Biden is sending a message of weakness and appeasement to our adversaries, encouraging and emboldening them,” they said.
“It is precisely the wrong message to send.”
Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) said Biden “missed an opportunity to pursue a new approach to Russia that truly confronts its malign behavior around the world.”
“I’m disappointed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline continues to edge closer to completion each day,” he said.
“I’m disappointed Biden made no efforts to address Russia’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty violations, while the Biden Administration unilaterally disarms.”
Risch, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said he was “deeply disappointed” that Biden didn’t make the release of former US Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, who he said are being held in Russia on “spurious charges,” a pre-requisite for the meeting.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — who accused Biden of “appeasement” ahead of the summit — said Biden’s statements regarding Russian election interference and its treatment of imprisoned dissident Alexei Navalny showed that he “miscalculated who he is dealing with.”
“Putin could care less about how the world views his efforts to silence dissidents at home and abroad,” Graham said.
“Again, quite frankly, I think he enjoys the reputation of being someone you don’t want to cross. Very dangerous observations by President Biden regarding Putin.”
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