Russian President Vladimir Putin knows Joe Biden’s weakness. And on Thursday, he retaliated against the U.S. President by offering a challenge that Biden is unlikely to accept: A live television debate.
The unfriendly offer comes after Biden labeled Putin a “killer” in a sit-down interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired Wednesday. Biden also promised that Putin will “pay a price” for election meddling.
“He will pay a price. We had a long talk, he and I, I know him relatively well,” Biden said. “And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”
Asked by Stephanopoulos about his remark that he ‘did not believe the Russian president had a soul,’ Biden doubled down on the claim.
“I did say that to him, yes, and his response was, ‘We understand one another.’ I wasn’t being a wise guy, I was alone with him in his office and that’s how it came about,” he said.
On Thursday, Putin replied with what some are perceiving as a ‘veiled threat.’
NEW – “I wish you good health,” Putin responds to Biden after the US president called the Russian president a “killer.”pic.twitter.com/SUqxA3c5LF— Disclose.tv ? (@disclosetv) March 18, 2021
My original translation from Russian to English aims to capture a bit more of the nuance than is being widely reported. Putin says not only once, but twice that he wants Biden to ‘be healthy.’
“I would simply say to him, ‘be healthy,’” Putin said. “I wish you good health. I say that without irony and not as a joke.”
Jen Psaki, at her White House press conference, said that Biden had no regrets about calling Putin a “killer.”
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