White House Press Secretary declined to apologize for President Joe Biden’s past attacks on former President Donald Trump regarding now-discredited reports of Russia putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers Thursday.
Biden repeatedly attacked Trump for holding a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2020 and not bringing up allegations that Russia had offered cash bounties to terrorist organizations for killing U.S. military personnel in the Middle East. Trump at the time dismissed the report, and a Thursday announcement from the Biden administration said the U.S. intelligence community has “low to moderate” confidence in the allegation. (RELATED: Putin Says He’s Ready To Work With President-Elect Biden)
.@PressSec is asked if Biden regrets attacking Trump on the campaign trail about the fake Russian bounties story:
“I’m not going to speak to the previous administration” pic.twitter.com/d2XdAM2gQq
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 15, 2021
“His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said in June 2020. “It’s betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way. It’s a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas.”
Trump at the time downplayed the report, which had been leaked to The New York Times, saying he had not been briefed on the alleged bounties.
“Nobody briefed or told me, Mike Pence, or Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News New York Times. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” Trump tweeted at the time.
Vice President Kamala Harris also attacked Trump on the bounty allegations on the campaign trail, saying the bounties were “public reporting.”
“[There was] public reporting that Russia had bounties on the heads of American soldiers,” Harris said. “And you know what a bounty is? Somebody puts a price on your head and they will pay it if you are killed. And Donald Trump had talked at least 6 times to Vladimir Putin and never brought up the subject. Joe Biden would never do that.”
Biden brought up the issue in his first call with Putin on January 26, along with Putin’s attacks on political rival Alexei Navalny and Russia’s efforts to destabilize U.S. elections.