Russia has recently upped its challenge to Democrat President Joe Biden after the Biden administration elected not to respond to a challenge from Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a debate during a live broadcast that would be available to the public.
Putin’s challenge came in response to Biden claiming that Putin was a “killer” this week during an interview with ABC News.
“I would say to him: I wish you good health,” Putin initially said on Thursday. “Although they think we are the same as them, we are different people; we have a different genetic and cultural-moral code. But we know how to defend our own interests, and we will work with them but in those areas in which we are interested and on terms we consider favorable for us. And they will have to reckon with that.”
Later, however, when speaking on television, Putin, according to Reuters “cited a Russian children’s playground chant to scathingly respond to Biden’s accusation with the comment that ‘he who said it, did it.’”
“I want to offer President Biden to continue our discussion but on the condition that we do it live, online, without any delays but in an open, direct discussion,” Putin said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was later asked about the challenge during Thursday’s press briefing.
The full exchange can be read here:
REPORTER: While you’ve been briefing, President Putin has just extended an invitation to President Biden to continue their conversation, but this time he wants to do it live. He’s asking for a livestreamed conversation, an open, direct dialogue. Putin says he’s available tomorrow or Monday. Is this something that you would consider?
PSAKI: I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we are entertaining. I would say that the President already had a conversation already with President Putin, even if — as there are more world leaders that he has not yet engaged with. And we engage with Russian leaders, members of the government at all levels, but I don’t have anything to report to you in terms of a future meeting. The President will, of course, be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy.
The Russian government then raised the stakes on Friday, suggesting that it has formally reached out to the Biden administration with an interest in having a one-on-one debate, but Biden has not yet gotten back to the Russian leader.
“An inquiry has been made and there is either an answer or the absence of an answer to it,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “The absence of an answer is generally a refusal from such communication.”
The Russian government made it clear that Putin “meant a public conversation that would be open to the people of the two countries.”
Biden, 78, has set a record for modern-day presidents by going nearly two months without holding a press conference where he would be subjected to questioning by reporters. While Democrats found ways to attack Trump on every front during his presidency, they have been eerily silent on Biden’s absence from public view and Psaki’s refusal to field questions without suggesting that she would get back to reporters.