After his most recent address about the Russia-Ukraine crises, President Joe Biden decided to walk off Tuesday afternoon after his major White House speech and not answer questions from journalists. But instead of decrying the move, ABC’s David Muir offered a defense of Biden ducking the free press: Things are just too serious to be talking to reporters!
Biden ended his nine-minute address by saying he’d “have more to say about this as it moves on” and that he’s “hoping diplomacy is still available” With Russian President Vladimir Putin. Once he said, “thank you very much” to those listening, he closed his notebook and marched away from the podium with his back turned to the cameras as reporters shouted questions.
Muir responded quickly and commented on the fact that he didn’t give reporters any more details. Needless to say, he didn’t admit it was because Biden’s gaffe-prone and would make things worse. He instead said:
Given the gravity of what is happening, President Biden was not able to answer any questions in the East Room. Vladimir Putin was mentioned by Biden, who announced just 24 hours earlier that he recognizes the two autonomous regions of eastern Ukraine. He also said that Putin had bizarrely stated these territories do not belong in Ukraine. He said he’s setting up the rationale to take more territory and the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Prior to Biden coming out, Muir briefly described Biden’s entrance: “President Biden in the East Room taking off the mask there and set to address the American people.”
On NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt didn’t go Muir’s route after Biden turned his back on accountability other than to say he “[took]No questions asked as he details the most recent response and punitive steps taken against Russia[.]”
Holt added Biden had some “big headlines” with “more U.S. forces pouring into the Baltic areas in a defensive posture and also the announcement of new financial sanctions.”
CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell was more positive toward Biden and the White House’s spin. In public, she boasted highly of the administration “taking a significant move, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of invading the sovereign country of Ukraine”Biden said that he was “expect[ed] him to announce harsh, new, economic sanctions” since he’s “promised swift and severe punishment[.]”
After Biden bolted, O’Donnell repeated back part of Biden’s thesis:
According to the United States President, this indicates that Russia has invaded Ukraine. Therefore, I have decided to start imposing sanctions as a response. However, the President is not ruling out any further actions in defense of NATO.
A few minutes later, O’Donnell fretted about this crisis and failure to use diplomacy or a summit to diffuse it coinciding with other Biden priorities like his upcoming Supreme Court pick and the State of the Union address.
Closing the Special Report, O’Donnell and White House correspondent Nancy Cordes touted Biden being “in constant contact with his European allies as they work to announce these sanctions in lockstep” and “send a powerful message” that “the west is united.”
To see the relevant ABC transcript from February 22, click “expand.”
ABC News Special Report
22 February 2022
Eastern at 2:20
DAVIDMUIR: We’re here because President Biden will address the nation about these rapid-moving developments regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin’s actions involving Ukraine. The Biden administration is now claiming that the Russian invasion is in progress.
Eastern: 2:22 p.m.
MUIR The Dow already reacted to recent news within the last 24 hours. Biden is seen in East Room, taking off his mask to address American citizens.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We’ll probably have more to say about this as it moves on. It’s my hope that diplomacy will still be possible. We are very grateful to you.
MUIR. President Biden was in East Room, not answering any questions. This is likely due to the gravity of what the world faces at the moment. Vladimir Putin was mentioned, and he announced just 24 hours earlier that he has now recognized two regions in east Ukraine as independent states. The President said moments ago that these regions did not belong to Ukraine. He said he’s setting up the rationale to take more territory and the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.