by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
James Antle of the Washington Examiner highlights President Biden’s latest anti-Trump activity.
President Joe Biden sought to present himself as tough on Russia and in contrast with his base’s perceptions of former President Donald Trump during his Geneva summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, even as critics at home questioned whether his policies match this self-portrait.
“It was important to meet in person so there could be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate. I did what I came to do,” Biden told reporters after meeting with Putin for over two hours. “This is not about trust. This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.”
Biden boasted of presenting Putin with a list of 16 critical infrastructure “entities” that must be “off-limits” to attack. He threatened “action” that would be “significant” if Russia interfered in U.S. elections. …
… Some of Biden’s comments could be seen as a subtle rebuke of his predecessor, who many Democrats saw as beholden to Russia after Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and as uninterested in human rights. It was a subtext of the “America is back” talk Biden used throughout his trip to Europe, reassuring allies that U.S. commitment to NATO was “rock-solid and unshakable” after four years of Trump questioning the alliance’s continued usefulness and cajoling participants to up their defense spending. …
… But Biden has faced criticism at home for not being tough enough on Russia, such as the administration’s decision to lift Trump-backed sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a top Putin project. There are also questions about whether Biden succeeded during his trip in rallying European allies against Moscow.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, claimed Biden was heading “objectively” the “most pro-Russia administration of the modern era.” …
… The U.S.-Russian joint statement claimed no major breakthroughs beyond reiterating a shared commitment to nuclear arms control. (However, both sides downplayed the odds of any deal before the leaders arrived in Geneva.)