Biden calls Putin a 'crazy SOB' and criticizes Trump's Navalny comments during fundraiser

Manuel Balse Seneta/AP

President Joe Biden speaks at the Culver City Julian Dixon Library on February 21 in Culver City, California.


President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a crazy SOB” at a fundraiser in San Francisco on Wednesday, according to pool reporters traveling with the US president.

“We have a crazy SOB that guy, Putin, others. And we always have to worry about nuclear conflict. But the existential threat to humanity is climate,” Biden told those gathered at the fundraiser.

In response to Biden's comments, the Kremlin said Thursday that they were a “huge insult” to the United States.

Biden also criticized comments by former President Donald Trump in which he compared his legal troubles to the death of Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. The president echoed his predecessor's comments before telling attendees that “If I had stood here 10 to 15 years ago and said all this, you all would have thought I should have committed.”

“He is comparing himself to Navalny and saying that because our country became a communist country, he was persecuted, just like Navalny was persecuted. Where does this come from,” Biden said, according to reporters in the room. “If I had stood here 10 to 15 years ago and said all this, you all would have thought I should be committed. …It's amazing.”

In stark contrast to Biden and other Western leaders, Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner, has yet to condemn Russia or Putin for Navalny's death.

In recent weeks, Trump has also indicated several times that he would not defend a NATO country from Russian attack if the country did not meet defense spending guidelines – a comment that Biden dismissed as an “admission.” “He said he wants to give Putin the green light for more war and violence.”

“Trump is making it clear that he will abandon our NATO allies,” Biden said after the former president's comments earlier this month.

Asked about the US president's comments by a reporter from the state-owned network Russia 1, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I can say that such rude statements by the American head of state in no way affect other The head of is not likely to be hurt. The country, especially President Putin but this is a huge insult to the country, I mean to the United States.

“Therefore, if the President of such a country uses such language, it should be shameful,” he said.

“Clearly, Mr. Biden is exhibiting Hollywood cowboy-style behavior to serve domestic political interests.”

Biden was introduced at Wednesday's fundraiser by venture capitalist John Doerr, according to the White House. Biden spoke for 16 minutes, according to pool reporters, and thanked former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who attended the fundraiser.

“I think she is the best speaker the House has ever seen. Thank God she was mostly on our side,” Biden said, according to reporters in the room.

At a second fundraiser in San Francisco on Wednesday, Biden sought to draw further contrasts with his predecessor, telling attendees that nine heads of state have told him, “You have to win in November.”

“As soon as I come out of the meetings, the head of state will find an excuse to come closer… and say, 'You have to win.' Not because I am very special. 'You have to win because if the other person wins then my democracy is in danger.' Nine heads of state have done this to me,” Biden said, according to pool reporters.

“Don't compare me with the Almighty, compare me with the substitute. This option is a different breed of cat,” he said, according to the pool. Pelosi then interrupted the president as the crowd laughed, saying, “Don't say that about cats.”

The president is expected to appear at another campaign event in Los Altos Hills, California, on Thursday before returning to the White House in the evening.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN's Kate Sullivan, Kanita Iyer and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

“The Untold Story: Yung Miami’s Response to Jimmy Butler’s Advances During an NBA Playoff Game” “Unveiling the Secrets: 15 Astonishing Facts About the PGA Championship”