President Joe Biden called a Fox News reporter’s question “stupid” as members of the press were ushered out of a White House auditorium following a meeting with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, according to a pool report.
“What a stupid question,” Biden said Thursday after Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked “why are you waiting on Putin to make the first move, sir?,” the pool report said.
The Biden administration spent much of Thursday walking back multiple statements the president made during Wednesday’s press conference, including his stance on a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The “stupid question” was in reference to Biden’s earlier inarticulate comment about Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation.
Biden said the U.S. would hold Russia “accountable if it invades” Ukraine, but that the response “depends on what it [Russia] does.” Biden went so far as to say that a “minor incursion” might be acceptable.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera, but if they do what they are capable of doing with the forces massed on the border, it will be a disaster for Russia if they invade Ukraine,” Biden said.
The White House clarified Biden’s statement. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said it was in reference “to the difference between military and non-military/para-military/cyber action by the Russians.”
It is unclear why the Biden administration would treat an invasion by Russian paramilitary forces any different than Russian military forces.
“Such actions would be met by a reciprocal response, in coordination with Allies and partners,” she added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to remind Biden that “there are no minor incursions” or “small nations,” in a Twitter statement Thursday.
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