Politics

Republicans call Biden ‘soft’ on Russia, leaving out Trump’s defense of Putin.


By Michael Crowley

Ahead of President Biden’s summit on Wednesday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in an 18th-century villa, Republicans in Congress and conservative media outlets like Fox News have coalesced around a succinct line of attack: Mr. Biden is weak when it comes to dealing with the Russian leader.

Some of Mr. Biden’s most prominent critics, however, neglect to mention their backing of President J. Donald Trump as he spent four years seeking to befriend Mr. Putin, dismissing Russia’s aggressive behavior and complaining that a “Deep State” and other Washington actors were preventing him from striking deals with Moscow.

On Tuesday, shortly before Mr. Biden departed on Air Force One from Brussels for Geneva, where he will meet with Mr. Putin for the first time in more than a decade, the website of Fox News published an opinion essay by Mike Pompeo, who served as secretary of state under Mr. Trump, arguing that Mr. Biden “shows up with a self-dealt weak hand.”

The idea that Mr. Biden is no match for the Russian has been a regular theme on the network’s programming in recent weeks.

On his prime-time program Monday night, the Fox host Sean Hannity declared that Mr. Putin “will see firsthand how weak Joe is,” adding that “Putin loves a weak America and a weak American president.”

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