White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said Tuesday that no “compromised information” was revealed after President Joe Biden made a comment that appeared to suggest U.S. troops are “helping train” Ukrainian troops in Poland.
This latest confusion surrounding a Biden comment began when the president addressed U.S. troops in Poland during his multi-day trip to Europe last week. At the time, Biden sparked confusion when he began to describe the scene in Ukraine, telling U.S. troops they’d “see when you’re there [in Ukraine].”
A White House spokesperson soon clarified the president’s remarks, noting that Biden’s “been clear we are not sending U.S. troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”
When pressed on his gaffe during a brief press conference Monday, the president said he was referring to “helping train the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland.” This sparked further confusion, as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said March 22 that Americans were not “currently” training Ukrainians, Politico reported.
“I was referring to being with, and talking with, the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland,” Biden added later in the press conference.
Bedingfield said Tuesday that Biden’s comment “is in no way revealing compromised information,” describing the troops he met in Poland as “routinely” interacting “with Ukrainians.”
“That being said, there’s nothing further that I have to say on that beyond what the president said yesterday,” she added.
Bedingfield appeared to dodge when pressed further on whether Biden’s comment was a misspeak or an accidental revelation.
“Are they training in Poland or not?” one reporter asked.
“Well, as I said, there is regular interaction between Ukrainian soldiers in Poland and the US troops that the president saw on the trip,” Bedingfield said, declining to directly answer the question. “There’s nothing, no further detail that I can add on that, except to say that there is regular interaction. As you saw, we were there near the border, and there’s regular interaction between those troops that he saw and Ukrainians.”
Biden’s fleeting comment about “helping train” Ukrainian troops is just the latest in a slew of remarks the administration has had to clarify. (RELATED: Biden Admin Will Welcome Up To 100,000 Refugees Fleeing Russian Aggression In Ukraine)
One notable example came after Biden, speaking in Poland at the end of his trip, declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” A White House official quickly said the president “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
The official also said Biden’s “point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.” The president then said Sunday that “no,” he was not calling for regime change.
“I was expressing my outrage,” Biden then told reporters Monday. “He shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things. But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.”
“I’m not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of this man, which is just brutality,” the president added at the time.