The White House is pushing back on reports that President Biden appeared to tell reporters Wednesday he trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Biden was simply "nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally."
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield responded to a tweet from liberal PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who recounted a reporter asking Biden during a scrum in Geneva if he trusted Putin. Alcindor wrote, "President Biden looked directly at the reporter and nodded affirmatively."
"It was a chaotic scrum with reporters shouting over each other," Bedingfield tweeted back. "POTUS was very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally. He said just two days ago in his presser: 'verify, then trust.'"
The TV pooler, NBC News' Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner, wrote in her report that Biden "looked me in the eye" and nodded, however, when she asked the question.
"The two leaders were sitting when we walked into the room, with Blinken to the left of Biden and Lavrov to the right of Putin. We missed the formal remarks by the time we were in the room," she wrote in her pool report. "I asked Biden if they can trust each other, and followed with Mr. President do you trust him. He looked me in the eye and nodded affirmatively."
Biden and Putin held their first face-to-face summit since Biden took office on Wednesday.
There was a fight just to get into the room. U.S. reporters and producers were aggressively pushed and shoved by Russian security officials Wednesday at the start of the highly-anticipated meeting in Geneva between Biden and Putin, denying the press full access to what was expected to be a short press availability before the hours-long summit.
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy explained that a small U.S. delegation traveled with the president to Geneva, and said an even smaller group was expected to be permitted to go into the room where Biden and Putin were meeting. Doocy explained that a video camera was permitted, briefly, in the room, but that the producer with the audio equipment was not.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.