Biden privately badmouths Putin & other world leaders, NBC alleges
Not only does US President Joe Biden bad-mouth his enemies in private, but he also ridicules his friends, American broadcaster NBC alleged on Tuesday.
Behind the closed doors of the White House, the American leader calls Russian President Vladimir Putin "a guy with nuclear weapons and no friends," the New York-based television network reported, quoting anonymous sources who have allegedly heard first-hand comments made by Biden.
But it is not only the Russian head who has been caught in the US President's verbal line of fire. According to NBC, Biden has even mocked other members of NATO, the US-led military bloc.
While German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was deemed "no Angela Merkel," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been described as "blustery." French President Emmanuel Macron was also targeted by Biden, with the president supposedly claiming his counterpart in Paris has just one wish – "to be Charles de Gaulle."
In response, US Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne denied any truth in these claims of teasing remarks, and defended her president in a statement to NBC.
"This anonymous gossip doesn't resemble in any way what the president says or thinks about his counterparts, whom he respects and values," she said.
The report on Biden's supposed comments comes at a time where US relations with European NATO members appear to be rapidly on the mend following Donald Trump's tumultuous period of leadership, with the bloc now coming together to accuse Moscow of stirring up tensions in Ukraine. According to NBC, however, those who overheard these disparaging remarks insist that the US president has found "few familiar faces" on the continent.
When it comes to Putin's purported new nickname, Biden may have nailed his description of the Russian president as "a guy with nuclear weapons" – Russia possesses over 6,000 nukes, the most in the world.
However, the accusation of Putin having "no friends" may be wide of the mark. In recent weeks, leaders from all around the world have visited Moscow, including President Macron and Chancellor Scholz, who's due to visit the Kremlin next week. Furthermore, earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has not met with any other head of state for two years, invited Putin as a guest of honor to the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.