White House says Biden does not regret calling Putin ’killer’
The White House on March 18 defended President Joe Biden’s comment that he agrees Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a "killer."
"No, the president gave a direct answer to a direct question," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said when asked by reporters whether there was any regret over Biden’s comment.
U.S.-Russia ties nosedived on March 18 after Putin shot back at Biden's description of him as a killer.
The back and forth underscored Biden's desire to distance himself from former President Donald Trump's perceived softness on Putin despite actions his administration took against Russia.
Although Biden agreed to extend a major arms control deal with Russia, he has been notably cool toward Moscow and highly critical of many of its activities.
In taking a tough stance on Russia, Biden has said the days of the U.S. "rolling over'' to Putin are done. And he has taken pains to contrast his style with the approach of Trump, who avoided direct confrontation and frequently spoke about Putin with approval.
Putin recalled his ambassador to the U.S. and on March 18 he pointed at the U.S. history of slavery and slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.
Responding to that, the White House said Biden would continue to look to work with Putin on areas of mutual concern but stressed that he was "not going to hold back'' when he has concerns about Putin's actions.