Biden apologizes for being ‘such a wise guy' after clash with CNN reporter
Before leaving Switzerland after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, President Biden apologized for being "such a wise guy" when he spoke to a CNN reporter shortly before.
"I owe an apology to my last questioner," Biden told reporters on the tarmac in Geneva. "I shouldn't have been such a smart guy on my last answer."
“To be a good reporter, you have to be negative about life,” Biden continued. "You are the smartest people in the country, but [it] makes no sense to me to negotiate with you."
"I apologize for being brief," he added.
President Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday. (AP photo / Patrick Semansky)
Leaving a solo press conference after meeting Putin, Biden was reluctant to hear a shouted question from CNN's White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who asked why Biden was "so confident" that Putin would change his behavior after their summit would.
“I'm not sure he'll change his behavior. Biden said as he turned to address Collins directly. "When did I say I was confident?"
Biden then went back to Collins with a raised finger as he explained his location.
"What I said was - let's get this straight - what I said was what will change behavior for the rest of the world and reduce their standing in the world," Biden said. "I'm not sure about anything. I'm just telling the fact."
Collins continued to press the president for Putin's evasive maneuver.
She pointed out that in Putin's own press conference, held after his meeting with Biden, the Russian President denied any involvement in cyberattacks, downplayed human rights violations and refused to give the name of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
"So how does this amount to a constructive meeting?" asked Collins.
"If you don't understand, you're in the wrong business," Biden replied before walking away.
President Biden speaks to reporters following a press conference after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday. (AP photo / Patrick Semansky)
On CNN, Collins said she appreciated Biden's apology, but stressed that it was "completely unnecessary."
Clashes between the president and the press corps are nothing new. Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump, appeared to enjoy sparring with reporters and apparently branded all unfavorable stories about him as "fake news". Trump also frequently denigrated female reporters, including Collins, during press conferences and pool sprays.
But unlike Biden, Trump has never apologized publicly.
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