No apologies necessary, Mr. President.
That’s according to CNN’s chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who got into a heated exchange with the commander-in-chief following his long-awaited summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
Biden had just finished a press conference following his summit with Putin in Geneva when Collins, 29, shouted out a question as the POTUS walked away from the stage.
“Why are you so confident [Putin] will change his behavior, Mr. President?” she asked.
Biden stopped in his tracks, turned around, and responded with noticeable irritation in his voice.
“I am not confident he will change his behavior. Where the hell … What do you do all the time?”
— President Joe Biden
“I am not confident he will change his behavior. Where the hell … What do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?” asked Biden. “I said … what I said was, let’s get it straight, I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I am not confident of anything. I am just stating the facts.”
Watch it here:
Collins then pressed him about Putin’s past behavior, and noted that in the Russian president’s own solo presser after the summit, he denied involvement in the recent cyberattacks against the U.S., and downplayed human rights abuses. “So how does that account to a constructive meeting, as President Putin put it?” asked Collins.
Biden countered, “If you don’t understand that, you are in the wrong business.”
The exchange went viral on Wednesday afternoon, leading “Kaitlan Collins” to trend on Twitter and Google.
But before boarding Air Force One to return home to D.C. later on Wednesday, he told reporters that, “I owe my last questioner an apology. I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy for the answer I gave.”
Collins responded on CNN that this apology was “completely unnecessary.”
“He did not need to apologize…It is just our job to ask the president questions. That is the business we are in.”
— Kaitlan Collins
She added that, “I do appreciate the president’s apology, but it is not necessary.”
Watch her response here:
Collins, who joined CNN from The Daily Caller, covered the 2016 presidential election and the early months of Trump’s presidency. She also sometimes abutted heads with the former president’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who called Collins an “activist” during a November 2020 press briefing. “I don’t call on activists,” McEnany said at the time, dismissing a question from Collins.
Biden wasn’t the only leader fielding tough questions on Wednesday. ABC News reporter Rachel Scott asked President Putin about his political opponents, many of which are “dead, imprisoned or jailed,” she said.
“So my question is, Mr. President, what are you so afraid of?” she asked.
The Russian leader dodged the question by attempting to draw a comparison with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, noting that many participants have been arrested and face jail time.
Their back-and-forth went viral, as well, resulting in Scott’s name also trending on Twitter with Collins, drawing more than 6,000 tweets.