Putin responds to Biden threat to ‘put him down’
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday addressed a suggestion that he be “put down” made by US President Joe Biden, suggesting that the octogenarian American politician still has a lot to learn.
“You live, you learn. One must learn, and then there won’t be a desire to ‘put down’ anyone, since that leads to problems. One needs to learn to respect others and seek compromise,” Putin said in Beijing, where he is attending the international Belt and Road Forum.
The Russian leader was responding to a reporter who had asked for a comment on Biden’s statements, voiced in a ‘60 Minutes’ interview broadcast on Sunday by the US network CBS.
“Imagine what happens if we, in fact, unite all of Europe and Putin is finally put down where he cannot cause the kind of trouble he’s been causing,” Biden told interviewer Scott Pelley at one point, arguing that the US has “enormous opportunities to make it a better world.”
Putin’s response was more diplomatic than the reaction of his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev, who currently chairs the Russian security council. Commenting on Biden’s words on Monday, Medvedev thanked the US president for clarifying his mission, but noted that “none of this is going to happen,” because Biden has “already forgotten what he said.”
“Dementia is a useful thing,” Medvedev added.
Biden, 81, is the oldest US president to be sworn in. He has been dogged by persistent rumors about his deteriorating physical and mental health, driven by a history of mis-speaking in public.
In a CBS poll last month, only 26% of respondents said he was physically and cognitively fit for the job, and only 34% believed he would make it to the end of his second term, if re-elected in 2024.
At a campaign event in Pennsylvania in early September, Biden argued that his advanced years were actually an asset, because “the only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom.”