‘You’re playing a game with me’: Biden gets snippy when CBS reporter asks about failed sanctions

(Video: Fox News)

President Biden got snippy with CBS News reporter Christina Ruffini during Thursday’s press conference at NATO  headquarters in Brussels when Ruffini said “deterrents did not work,” to then ask: “What makes you think Vladimir Putin will alter course based on the action you’ve taken today?”

“Let’s get something straight. You remember, if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say, in fact, the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter,” Biden said — ignoring that key members of his administration, beginning with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have said sanctions were intended to deter Putin’s actions.

“The maintenance of sanctions, the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration why I asked for this NATO meeting today is to be sure that after a month we will sustain what we’re doing, not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That’s what will stop him,” the president continued.

Ruffini followed up to ask, “Do you believe the actions today will have an impact on Russia changing course in Ukraine?”

“That’s not what I said. You’re playing a game with me … The answer’s no,” Biden snapped.

“The single most important thing is for us to stay unified and the world continue to focus on what a brute this guy is and all the innocent people’s lives are being lost and ruined and what’s going on. That’s the important thing,” he added. “But look, if you’re Putin and you think that Europe is going to crack in a month or six weeks or two months, why not — they can take anything for another month. But we have to demonstrate. The reason I asked for the meeting. We have to stay fully, totally, thoroughly united.”

Harris also said in February that the “purpose of the sanctions has always been and continues to be deterrence,” according to Fox News, which also noted that Blinken told CNN that the “purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said that the overall goal of imposing sanctions on Russia was to “have a deterrent effect.”

“Sanctions can be a powerful tool,” Psaki said in February. “They have been in a lot of moments throughout history. And what we view them as — or how we’re viewing them as we’re starting high… in terms of the significance and the severity of the sanctions that were announced today — yes, our intention is to have a deterrent effect.”

Tom Tillison


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