OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
When President Joe Biden speaks, people listen. They usually follow that with laughter but that is beside the point.
On Wednesday the president gave a long press conference where he actually answered some questions from the media off the cuff, and that is usually not a wise idea for him.
On the idea of Russia moving into the Ukraine, the president not only acknowledged it would likely happen but, one Ukrainian official who spoke to CNN suggested that he appeared to give Putin a pass if he did, even suggesting that NATO allies would be conflicted on how to respond to it.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do,” he said to reporters. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the forces amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine.”
“If they further invade Ukraine.” If that is not a pass to invade some of Ukraine it is tough to imagine what would be considered a pass.
He explained that he drew the line at “Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters.”
“I think that changes everything,” he said. “But it depends on what he does, to what extent we’ll get total unity on the NATO front.”
“It’s very important that we keep everyone in NATO on the same page. That’s what I’m spending a lot of time doing, and there are differences,” the president said. “There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens.”
“I’m not so sure he is certain what he is going to do. My guess is he will move in. He has to do something,” the president said. “He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the west.”
One Ukrainian official who spoke to CNN said that “Kyiv is stunned,” referring to the government of the Ukraine.
The official said that he was “shocked that the US President Biden would distinguish between incursion and invasion.”
“This gives the green light to Putin to enter Ukraine at his pleasure,” he said.
The White House, as it often does after a Biden press conference, sought to explain what he meant.
“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: 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,” press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics,” she said. “And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”
And at another part of the press conference, Newsmax reporter James Rosen asked the president about a recent poll on his mental fitness.
“I’d like to raise a delicate subject, but with utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the high office you hold,” he said. “A poll released this morning by Politico-Morning Consult found 49 percent of registered voters disagreeing with the statement ‘Joe Biden is mentally fit.’”
He said that “not even a majority of Democrats who responded strongly affirmed that statement,” to which Biden replied “I’ll let you all make the judgment whether they’re correct.”
He questioned why “such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness.” To which Biden responded, “I have no idea.”
The entire press conference had people talking about using the 25th Amendment.
“Store shelves are empty, prices are soaring, real wages are declining, American cities are engulfed in violence, the border is controlled by the cartels & parents are treated as terrorists while actual terrorists go free. When do the Dems seriously consider the 25th Amendment?” Sen. Josh Hawley said.
Store shelves are empty, prices are soaring, real wages are declining, American cities are engulfed in violence, the border is controlled by the cartels & parents are treated as terrorists while actual terrorists go free. When do the Dems seriously consider the 25th Amendment? https://t.co/ZlsbJ2DA1h
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 19, 2022
“This press conference marks the effective end of the Biden presidency. Let the 25th Amendment discussions begin,” journalist Joel Pollak said.
This press conference marks the effective end of the Biden presidency. Let the 25th Amendment discussions begin
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) January 19, 2022
This was the best day of Kamala Harris’ life
She’s laughing all the way to the 25th Amendment
— Ashley St. Clair (@stclairashley) January 19, 2022
“This was the best day of Kamala Harris’ life She’s laughing all the way to the 25th Amendment,” author Ashley St. Clair said.