At a Monday press conference after returning from a gaffe-packed trip to Europe where he made multiple provocative comments regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden asserted to Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy that none of his gaffes occurred. And despite running reports highlighting his biggest gaffe and showing Biden sticking to it, none of the broadcast evening newscasts dared to mention his inexplicable denial. In fact, a couple seemed to prop him up.
As NewsBusters reported, here’s the exchange between Biden and Doocy (Click “expand”):
BIDEN: What’s getting walked back?
DOOCY: It made it sound like, just in the last couple days, sounded like you told US troops that they were going to Ukraine, it sounded like you said it was possible the US would use a chemical weapon, and it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia. And we know —
BIDEN: None of the three occurred.
Throughout ABC’s World News Tonightthe mission seemed to be to prop up the President as he stepped all over him. “Those words, while still in Europe were unscripted. Late today, the President said they were personal, not policy,” announced anchor David Muir.
National correspondent Terry Moran primed the pump for what would come later as he parroted Biden saying he “was not announcing any policy change” but rather venting his “moral outrage” at Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Following a report where senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce showed the soundbites of her pressing Biden at the presser about his words escalating the situation, she capped off the report by seemingly touting the administration’s response to the outrage. “The White House knows that the President’s words matter, but David, the bottom line is, while this is being criticized as a gaffe, the White House simply doesn’t see it that way,” she announced.
Bringing things back to what Moran hinted, Bruce concluded with Biden’s argument that he should just be able to go off on emotional outbursts regardless of the consequences:
The President has no regrets. Biden says Putin’s behavior is unacceptable and he should be able to express his own outrage and frustration. In fact, again today, Biden said that, “shouldn’t remain in power.”
On CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell was way too excited when she announced that “President Biden surprised the world today when he stood by comments that he made in Warsaw that Vladimir Putin, ‘Cannot stay in power.'” It was expected that he was going to clean up those unscripted words.”
She then suggested “he clarified” what he said and put on a serious-sounding tone when she noted “[t]he concern tonight is those remarks would escalate the war in Ukraine and Putin may use it as a propaganda that the west is trying to overthrow him.”
CBS senior White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe echoed O’Donnell’s claim that Biden had “clarified he was expressing personal views, not a change in US policy.”
“Still, the President faced a barrage of questions today about his comments, like why did he say it,” she seemed to lament.
But on NBC Nightly News, senior White House reporter Kelly O’Donnell didn’t play by the same book ABC and CBS did. “Saturday in Poland, defending democracy and Ukraine, the President went off script and off message,” she warned. “That reverberated among friends and foes.”
She concluded the video portion by noting a new NBC News poll that found Biden’s approval rating is down to 40 percent, 55 percent disapprove” and that a whopping “7 in 10 Americans express low confidence in the President’s ability to deal with the war in Ukraine .”
We all know why.
The omission of Biden’s denial of gaffes while taking about gaffes was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Vicks on ABC, Claritin on CBS, and Prevagen on NBC. Their contact information is linked.
The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:
ABC’s World News Tonight
March 28, 2022
6:32:26 pm Eastern
DAVID MUIR: Late today, President Biden explaining his words after saying of Vladimir Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Those words, while still in Europe were unscripted. Late today, the President said they were personal, not policy. And our Mary Bruce asking the President, is he at all concerned about how Putin could react to those words?
6:34:30 pm Eastern
TERRY MORAN: Today, Biden insisted he was not announcing any policy change, but simply expressing “moral outrage.”
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I’m not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is I was expressing the moral outrage I felt. [Transition] I want to make it clear, I wasn’t then nor am I now articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel, and I make no apologies for it.
6:36:35 pm Eastern
MUIR: And as you saw Terry report there, President Biden standing by his comments about Vladimir Putin while still in Europe, saying that “this man cannot remain in power.” I want to bring in ABC’s senior White House correspondent, Mary Bruce tonight, because Mary, you pressed the President further about whether his words could enflame tensions with the Russian leader, if he’s at all concerned what Putin could do when he hears something like that . Let’s listen.
[Cuts to video]
MARY BRUCE: You’ve said that you’re confident your comment won’t confident diplomatic efforts, but to be clear are you confident that Vladimir Putin sees it that way?
BIDEN: I don’t care what he thinks. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. Putin, look–
BRUCE: But you’re not concerned that he may see your language and view that as a sign of a reason for escalation, use that as an excuse to escalate?
BIDEN: Given his recent behavior, people should understand that he is going to do what he thinks he should do, period. And the idea that he is going to do something outrageous because I called him for what he was and what he’s doing I think is just not rational.
[Cuts back to live]
MUIR: Well Mary, you pressed the President. Is he concerned about what Putin can do? I’m curious what your sources are telling you about the President’s team, where they at all concerned by his words? And tonight, the Russians are also responding?
BRUCE: David, tonight, the Russians are calling the President’s comments “alarming” and a “personal insult.” They say it’s completely unacceptable.
Now, the White House was quickly — acted quickly to try to clean this up to make it clear that the US isn’t going to somehow take Putin out. The White House knows that the President’s words matter, but David, the bottom line is, while this is being criticized as a gaffe, the White House simply doesn’t see it that way.
The president has no regrets. Biden says Putin’s behavior is unacceptable and he should be able to express his own outrage and frustration. In fact, again today, Biden said that, quote, “shouldn’t Putin remain in power.” David?
MUIR: Mary Bruce, thank you.
CBS Evening News
March 28, 2022
6:31:45 pm Eastern
NORAH O’DONNELL: President Biden surprised the world today when he stood by comments that he made in Warsaw that Vladimir Putin, quote, “Cannot stay in power.” It was expected that he was going to clean up those unscripted words. Instead, he clarified that in his personal opinion and not a new policy.
The concern tonight is those remarks would escalate the war in Ukraine and Putin may use it as a propaganda that the west is trying to overthrow him.
6:32:35 pm Eastern
ED O’KEEFE: The President’s comments about Vladimir Putin came at the end of a carefully prepared speech and three days of intense diplomacy. Today, he says the message was intended for the Russian people.
[Cuts to video]
Two days since saying this about Vladimir Putin —
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: For god’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.
O’KEEFE: — President Biden today clarified he was expressing personal views, not a change in US policy.
BIDEN: I wasn’t then nor am I now articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel and I make no apologies for it.
O’KEEFE: Still, the President faced a barrage of questions today about his comments, like why did he say it?
BIDNE: This is stating a simple fact that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable, totally unacceptable.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you concerned about this remark might escalate the conflict?
BIDEN: No, I’m not. I’m not at all. [Transition] The last thing I want to do is engage in a land war or a nuclear war with Russia, that’s not part of it. I was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man. It’s outrageous.
6:3425 pm Eastern
O’KEWFE: White House aids say the President’s remark about removing Putin wasn’t part of the prepared text. And is he worried Putin will see the comments as an escalation?
BIDEN: I don’t care what he thinks. Look, here’s the deal, he’s going to do what he’s going to do.
NBC Nightly News
March 28, 2022
7:05:05 pm Eastern
LESTER HOLT: President Biden, tonight, is defending his controversial remark that Putin “cannot remain in power.” The President not insists he was just declaring “moral outrage” not calling for regime change. Kelly O’Donnell has more on the fall-out.
[Cuts to video]
KELLY O’DONNELL: Back from Europe, President Biden tried to quiet a controversy of his own making. One that look allies and sent his administration in to 48 hours of clean-up. But today, the President is defiant.
Do you believe what you said that Putin can’t remain in power?
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I’m not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of the man is just brutality.
O’DONNELL: Saturday in Poland, defending democracy and Ukraine, the President went off script and off message.
BIDEN: For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.
O’DONNELL: That reverberated among friends and foes. The official US government position does not seek regime change of Putin’s government.
BIDEN: I was not then or am I now articulating a policy change, I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel and I make no apologies for it.
O’DONNELL: Today, the President said his words did not muddy the crisis.
Does it complicate the diplomacy of this moment?
BIDEN: No, I don’t think it does.
O’ diplomatic DONNELL: But there is pushback. Concerns that Putin will use Biden’s words as propaganda or provocation. Today in France, President Macon, who still speaks to Putin trying to broker peace, said, “we cannot escalate in either words or actions.”
Amid the crisis, President Biden’s approval rating is down to 40 percent, 55 percent disapprove in a NBC News poll that found about 7 in 10 Americans expressing low confidence in the President’s ability to deal with the war in Ukraine.
[Cuts back to live]
HOLT: And Kelly, Russia, which has faced global outrage over its invasion tonight is using President Biden’s comments to criticize the US
O’DONNELL: That’s right, Lester, the Kremlin said it’s not up to President Biden to decide who leads the Russian government. While President Biden said today he does not believe any of his own words will impact Putin’s actions. Lister?
HOLT: Okay, Kelly. Thank you.