Following Russia ordering troops into two Ukrainian territories Monday, a 2019 video of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden circulated showing Biden promising that when he becomes president, he would end Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “days of tyranny” and intimidation.
“Once again, Putin and the Russians are trying to engage in our elections and decide who the president’s going to be,” Biden said in a 2019 fundraising ad. “This time I’m the object of their attention. Because Putin knows if I am president of the United States, his days of tyranny and trying to intimidate the United States and those in Eastern Europe are over.”
Once again, Putin and the Russians are interfering in the elections and trying to pick our president — this time they’re coming after me.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 23, 2019
“I’m going to stand up to him. He’s a bully, just like the president. And I know he doesn’t want me to be president, but to tell you what, when I’m president, things are going to change. Mr. Putin, the American people decide their elections, not you.” (RELATED: 2-Year-Old Biden Tweet About Putin Comes Back To Bite Him)
Despite Biden’s promise to stand up to Putin, his administration has drawn stark criticism as they struggled to use the word “invasion” Monday to describe Russia ordering troops into parts of Ukraine.
One senior official described Putin’s plan to deploy soldiers into the Luhansk and Donetsk as “not itself [being] a new step,” adding that Russia “has had forces in the Donbas region for the past eight years.”
The administration announced an executive order Monday that “will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “This E.O. will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine.”
While the administration also promised additional measures Tuesday, they won’t be “the swift and severe economic measures we’ve been preparing in coordination with allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,” a senior administration official said Monday, declining to specify what “further invasion” meant.
Republicans and Democrats have called on the administration to take more severe action against Russia, with Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul and Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers asking for action against the country for its “blatant act of aggression and flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“Now is not the time for symbolic pinpricks that will serve only to embolden Putin and endanger our friends in Ukraine,” McCaul and Rogers said in a joint statement Monday. “Now is the time for President Biden to impose sanctions that strike at the heart of the Russian economy, and permanently end Nord Stream 2 once and for all, as he promised the world he would do.”
Following the criticism about the administration sidestepping the word “invasion” Monday, Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said Tuesday “an invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway,” NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Kristen Welker reported.